Minervini & Milliken

Ray Minervini receives the 2014 Milliken Distinguished Leadership Award

Ray Minervini, the local developer and visionary responsible for transforming an abandoned state hospital into a vibrant multi-use community known as The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, received the 2014 Milliken Distinguished Leadership Award at the inaugural Harvest@TheCommons event on October 11.

1959495_10154751234190187_8568082142515208040_nThe award, created by the Michigan Land Use Institute, recognizes community leaders who embody the legacy of Governor William Milliken and the late Helen Milliken, and the belief that a clean, healthy environment is necessary for a prosperous economy.

“I knew Helen and greatly admired her work. To have my name associated with hers is a true honor,” he said.

Minervini grew up in Detroit, and witnessed firsthand what he calls “demolition by neglect” as his old neighborhood and parts of the surrounding city were left to crumble.

When he moved to northern Michigan in the late 1980s, it seemed Building 50 of the Traverse City State Hospital would suffer the same fate. Minervini joined a group of people dedicated to preserving the historic Building and was later appointed to serve as a board member of the Grand Traverse Commons Redevelopment Corporation. In 2001, after the group failed to attract a developer that would save the historic structure, many felt that demolition was the only option. That’s when Minervini jumped in.

“Many people questioned my decision and whether it was possible,” he said.

1888720_10154751234840187_7516018190859039246_nFourteen years later, the efforts of the Minervini Group have transformed the old hospital into a dynamic, diverse community where people can live, work, play, shop and dine—surrounded by historic, beautiful architecture and nestled amid northern Michigan’s natural splendor. Businesses like Trattoria Stella, Higher Grounds Trading Company, Left Foot Charley and many more are thriving, and hundreds of residential condos and apartments have long-term tenants that call The Village home.

 “A core goal of MLUI is to support thriving communities—vibrant, walkable, and resilient places to live,” said Hans Voss, MLUI executive director. “Whenever we need a perfect example of those ideas at work, all we have to do is look at what Ray’s accomplished.”

In addition to the award dedication, Harvest@theCommons featured an authentic farm-to-table feast, a “local libations” bar featuring drinks from northern Michigan, and bluegrass music from Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys. A celebrity pie auction, with pies baked by local celebrities Amy Smart and Carter Oosterhouse, Ross and Brenda Biederman, Denise and Mike Busley, and Carter Schmidt (of Carter’s Compost) also raised more than $7,000 for MLUI programs.

The second annual Harvest@theCommons is already set for Oct. 10, 2015, at the Historic Barns.

Written by: James Russell of The Michigan Land Use Institute


Liana’s Boutique

Darla Stites, owner of ‘What to Wear’ in Downtown Traverse City has opened a new boutique called Liana’s in the Mercato of Building 50 catering to both Women & Children. Stites has considered The Village for a couple years now as a great location to expand her business. As a result, when Libby & Michael Robold of Yoga for Health Education approached her to take over the organic clothing lines carried in their retail store Green Canopy, Stites jumped at the opportunity.  Read more


Guided Historic Bus Tours

By now, word has traveled about our Guided Historic Building and Tunnel Tours. Hundreds of people have joined us for these walking tours, but the 2 hour long commitment and active mobility requirement doesn’t work for everyone. Not many people know that we have another option for those interested in the history and architecture of the campus, Bus Tours!

Groups of 15 or more arriving on their own bus can arrange a 30 minute Bus Tour, where our knowledgeable guide hops on the bus and shows you around the site! Though the Bus Tour takes less than half the time of our well-known walking tours, guests still enjoy an information packed ride through the history, architecture and beauty of the Village campus.

Hop On Tour MapThe Village at Grand Traverse Commons, formerly the Traverse City State Hospital has a rich history and much to explore. The Bus Tour starts outside of Building 50 travelling South around the Historic Barns, know today as the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park. Continuing North guests will pass by the Male Cottages built in the early 1900′s, some renovated and others awaiting their time. Heading back towards Cottageview Drive, tourists will travel the length of expansive Building 50, running about a quarter-mile. On Medical Campus Drive, guests will hear of Munson Medical Center and the Traverse City State Hospital’s original Superintendent Dr. Munson. And finally, traveling along Elmwood Avenue, tour participants can catch a glimpse of Building 50 among the Historic Arboretum, one of the largest collections of unique trees in the entire State.

The cost for Bus Tours is $5 per person, but if the group plans to shop, eat or explore The Village Campus after the tour, guests receive a reduced rate of $3 per person.

Please note, we do not have a large vehicle of our own so these tours are only available for groups arriving by bus. Whether a small Celtic shuttle, a school bus or a tour bus, all groups are welcome.

Contact The Minervini Group at 231-941-1900 for more information.


Art on the Walls: Southview

Throughout the years Building 50 has been brought back to life. The thick brick walls, once crumbling with paint have been restored to their intended grandeur. The windows once dark have brightened. And the campus left desolate is now filled with people. 

“Put art on the walls, music in the halls and the people will bring this Building back to life,” said Ray Minervini. And trust him, as we do, he was right.  Read more

Sandy's Kitchen

Faces & Spaces: Sandy Miller

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is considered home to many interesting people. Their unique experiences & living spaces help tell the story of what makes the Village a community…

Sandy Miller’s apartment in Building 50 exudes absolute tranquility.  It can be felt whether morning fills the windows with natural light or the warm glow from a lamp lights the room in the evening. Sandy’s personality certainly reflects this same peaceful nature, with an appreciation for life and a friendly smile that’s sure to rub off on you. Read more


The Observer Exclusive

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is home to over a hundred different businesses. From retailers, professional services, dining, wineries and more, the variety is what makes us unique. In our Village Business Spotlight we highlight these businesses and their owners, a group of passionate entrepreneurs. These people and their amazing work are what sparked our newest addition, The Observer Exclusive. Read more


Now Available: The Kirkbride Suite

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is an ongoing redevelopment project and that means we’re able to introduce new spaces to Traverse City and to our guests on a regular basis. The Kirkbride Suite is one of those places and it stands as an unforgettable launching point for everything that The Village and the Traverse City region has to offer. This dramatic 2,700 square foot, two-level retreat is in the historic 1885 Chapel Building and is now available for short-term rentals. Read more


The Artists in Residence at Cordia

The Members of Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons will enjoy an abundance of amenities living on site. Among those includes easy accessibility and classroom instruction from three local ‘Artists in Residence.’ Mary Kay Burbee, Mark Meyer and Shanny Schmidt were recently selected from a group of talented applicants to be the 2015 Artists in Residence within Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons. Read more


Faces & Spaces: Paul Boel

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is considered home to many interesting people. Their unique experiences & living spaces help tell the story of what makes the Village a community…

Few people choose to water ski in their fifties, even fewer would attempt it after turning seventy-five, but Paul Boel continued to water ski into his nineties.  Today at 91 years old, Paul is a living example that proves age is just a number. Read more