Building Revitalization & Reuse
The revitalization and reuse of older buildings, whether for a similar function or a new one, promotes compact development patterns that aid the protection of our region’s natural resources.  The adaptive reuse of older buildings can contribute to the preservation of local community character, optimize local infrastructure investment by promoting development in areas where infrastructure is already established, and increase property values by restoring properties to productive uses.


Mixed-use development in redeveloped factory, Traverse City, Grand Traverse County

Adaptive Reuse
Older buildings can be adapted for a variety of new uses while retaining their historic features.  Some examples of the adaptive reuse of structures within Northern Lower Michigan include: the conversion of warehouses into live-work units, a lumberyard into a natural food store, and a train depot into office space.


Fitness Center in converted TC Cigar Box Company, Traverse City, Grand Traverse County


Historic Preservation
Many of our region’s older buildings testify to the quality of their original design and construction by outliving their original purposes.  While their original design and function may be modified, the reuse of the historic buildings and the revitalization of historic neighborhoods contribute to the identity of communities within Northern Lower Michigan and the region as a whole.

The State of Michigan and Federal governments offer tax incentives to rehabilitate qualified properties (e.g., structures on the National Register, State Register, within a locally protected historic district).  Additionally, Michigan's State Historic Preservation Office administers the Historic Preservation Fund – a grant-in-aid program – for the identification, designation, and protection of historically significant structures, sites, and districts.


Munson Manor Hospitality House in former State Hospital building, Traverse City, Grand Traverse County


Key Points:

  • Encourage adaptive reuse to optimize the community’s infrastructure investment, preserve local community character, and restore properties to productive uses.
  • Adaptive reuse of existing structures can reduce the pressure to develop greenfield sites.
  • Communities are encouraged to preserve and reuse older buildings displaying extraordinary craftsmanship. The decision to preserve old buildings or start over, however, includes both community discourse and private property interests.
  • The state and federal governments offer incentives and financing for the rehabilitation of historic structures.
  • By establishing historic overlay districts, local jurisdictions can facilitate historic preservation.