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Tue March 19, 2013
Before and after photos of Traverse City's converted mental hospital
Update: Tours now available of untouched building
Saw an article by Matt Troutman of the Traverse City Record-Eagle where he reports that tours through the last remaining undeveloped portion of the former state mental hospital and its labyrinth of tunnels are now available.
People lucky enough to land a spot on a tour will start in the Mercato and walk outside toward the north wing of Building 50. Many of the patient rooms are open for exploration, though people are warned to be aware of the peeling lead paint and must put protective covers over their shoes.
Once outside Building 50, the tour will go underground into the brick-lined tunnels that stretch beneath the hospital. The tour ends where it started: inside the new, redeveloped portion of Building 50.
Future tour dates will be announced on The Village at Grand Traverse Commons Facebook page. They cost $25, with the proceeds going toward maintaining and replanting the former arboretum.
The transformed Northern Michigan Asylum has been up and running as the Village at Grand Traverse Commons for several years.
Ray Minervini has been working on restoring the old state mental hospital for more than a decade.
You could call it a mega-fixer-upper.
Minervini told us back in 2006 that the work being done on the site "equates to the largest rehab project for sure in the Midwest."
The former state mental hospital in Traverse City is a castle-like compound of about 27 buildings.
They were closed in 1989 and vacant for a decade after.
In 2002, Minervini bought all 63-acres of the property for just $1.
After putting in over $60 million, it's now a showpiece for the area. Once it's complete, the owners expect that approximately 1,800 people will live or work there.
Curbed.com's Chris Berger put together a post that shows off what is now swanky "homes, offices, and independent businesses like a bakery, a cheesecake store, and a wine bar."
With its seemingly well-adjusted residents and shoppers, alluring historic architecture, and ample green space, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City, Michigan, resembles a saccharine Thomas Kincade print come to life. So it's hard to imagine that for a century this surreal setting was home to some of the state's most mentally disturbed residents.
One of the best parts of his piece are some split screen images that show before and after images.
For more information on how they rehabilitated this piece of history - check out our Environment Report story from 2006.
- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom
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