TRAVERSE CITY — Federated Properties’ long-stalled project may be heading to the front-burner after developers submitted plans to fill a deep hole on West Front Street with a three-story, mixed-use building with private underground parking.
Louis Ferris Jr., CEO of Federated Properties LLC, initiated a meeting with city officials in January about resurrecting plans for the former Grand Traverse Auto site at 124 W. Front St. Project consultants last week submitted to city officials conceptual site plans that show a building footprint and public boardwalk along the Boardman River.
“Obviously, we would love to see something happen there; it’s in the no-man’s land of West Front where we have three large vacant properties,” said Rob Bacigalupi, executive director of Traverse City’s Downtown Development Authority. “We are virtually out of retail space downtown, so it would be good to offer that to businesses.”
Messages left with Federated Properties on Tuesday afternoon were not returned.
The project’s ground floor would house retail space and Federated officials are conducting a market study to determine what would best fit on the upper two floors, Bacigalupi said.
City Engineer Tim Lodge said the conceptual plan’s public boardwalk aspect is exciting and better than an initial design Federated officials submitted nearly a decade ago that featured a driveway along the entire length of the river.
The boardwalk would connect to a planned river-spanning pedestrian bridge to the west of the property near the intersection of West Front and Pine streets. City planner Russ Soyring said the city eventually would like to extend the boardwalk east along the river behind the Traverse City Record-Eagle and Fifth Third Bank buildings to connect to Union Street.
The plans also show vehicle access to Federated’s proposed underground garage through a parking area behind the Record-Eagle office.