Traverse City

Community Profile
Spotlight on Traverse City
An Economic Powerhouse of Northwest Michigan

The Traverse City Area is an economic powerhouse of Northwest Michigan. Encompassing the City of Traverse City, as well as Acme, Blair, Garfield Charter, East Bay, Elmwood Charter, Long Lake, and Peninsula Townships, this area is known for its vibrant downtown, robust arts and entertainment, vast waterfront access points, foodie culture, and burgeoning innovation scene. Experience all that Northern Michigan has to offer, all within Grand Traverse County.

Why Traverse City?

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Fast-growing Traverse City is a darling of Northwest Michigan. With an area population of over 76,000, the bustling Traverse City Area in Grand Traverse County is a magnet for creative young professionals, retirees, and families alike. The area is highly educated, with nearly half of all adults possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher, eager to work within the county’s diversified economy. Northwestern Michigan Community College and the Great Lakes Maritime Academy provide unique opportunities for continuing education. Families with children are well served by over a dozen schools in the Traverse City Area Public Schools system, including several specialty primary schools, a Montessori grade school, and a career tech center for high school juniors and seniors interested in learning the trades. Traverse Area District Library improves education access for all residents. Munson Medical Center in downtown Traverse City provides world class care, as the flagship hospital facility of Munson Healthcare, northern Michigan’s largest healthcare system. The area’s robust housing stock is mostly owner occupied, indicating that many Traverse City dwellers have made a long term investment in living close to the city center. 

Historically, manufacturing and agriculture, and more recently innovation, have powered Traverse City’s growth. Today, a quarter of Grand Traverse County’s jobs are in the Healthcare industry, and another quarter are in tourism and hospitality-related sectors like Accommodation & Food Services and Retail Trade. Education, finance and insurance, and technology jobs are also employment drivers, and represent growing opportunities for highly educated professionals in the Traverse City Area. Executives enjoy direct flights to destinations like Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas, and New York from the Cherry Capital Airport, less than 10 minutes from downtown Traverse City.

As the largest population center in the region, Traverse City is a hub for dining, shopping, arts, and entertainment. Tour the more than forty local wineries on the Traverse Wine Coast, savor the region’s agricultural bounty at the annual National Cherry Festival in July, or celebrate diversity with UpNorth Pride and June’s Visibility March, the largest pride festival in the State of Michigan.

Downtown Traverse City boasts several cultural landmarks, like the historic City Opera House, and the award-winning State Theatre, home of the world-famous annual Traverse City Film Festival. The Crooked Tree Arts Center features rotating art exhibits and gallery space in the heart of downtown, while the Interlochen Center for the Arts features music, theatre, visual arts, film, creative writing, and dance classes and performances.

With direct access to the Grand Traverse Bay, Boardman River, and Boardman Lake, it is easy to enjoy the great outdoors and experience Northern Michigan’s incredible natural beauty within Traverse City. Bike the TART trail, a paved, 10.5 mile long urban transportation and recreation corridor that runs along the Bay from the heart of downtown Traverse City to Acme Township. Hike, ski, and snowmobile the area’s miles of trails, sail or kayak on the area’s many waterways, or bask in a summer sunset while relaxing on the beach. 



Traverse Connect: Serving Benzie County, Grand Traverse County, Kalkaska County, & Leelanau County 
Traverse Connect is the lead economic development organization for the Grand Traverse region, which supports area businesses through a combination of business attraction and retention strategies, talent development efforts, and strategic coordination among partner agencies. Traverse Connect now serves the region as one organization supporting business growth and development, alongside partner organization Venture North Funding and Development.

Investment Opportunities

Running east-west through the city center, 8th Street connects several of Traverse City’s tree- lined neighborhoods to the commercial corridor in the heart of downtown.
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Vacant parcel in the “Beach District” section of the Grand Traverse Bayshore Corridor within East Bay Charter Township, approved for a new hotel but construction never began.
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A former Mexican restaurant location, currently vacant, though multiple restaurants have located here in recent years. 3,689 square feet of floor area, built in 2016.
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Vacant parcel in the “Beach District” section of the Grand Traverse Bayshore Corridor within East Bay Charter Township, approved for a new hotel but construction never began.
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Surface parking lot in downtown Traverse City. 3 acres on State Street near Union Street.
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Two properties next door under common ownership. Former location of Ruby Tuesdays and Swan Retail shop (a tourist destination).
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Population of Traverse City Community Investment Area
Population Growth Traverse City & Surrounding Townships, 2010–2018
Percentage of Population that is Non-White
Percentage of Grand Traverse County Under the Age of 45
Percentage of Adults in Traverse City Region with a Higher Degree
Schools in Traverse City
Grand Traverse Academy, The Greenspire School, New Campus Center, Life Skills Center, TBA SE Early Childhood, TBA ISD Oak Park Special Education, TBA ISD Traverse Heights, TBA Career Tech Center, East Middle School, Traverse City High School, TCAPS Montes
4-Year Graduation Rate at Traverse City Area Public Schools
Median Household Income in Traverse City
Poverty Rate
Percentage of Households With Income Over $50,000 in Traverse City & Surrounding Townships
Percentage of Jobs in Grand Traverse County in Health Care & Social Assistance
Total Jobs in Grand Traverse County
Labor Force
Percentage of Workers Who Live In & Are Employed In Traverse City & Surrounding Townships
Percentage of Housing Built in the Past 40 Years
Housing Units
Homeownership Rate
Seasonal Housing
Median Home Value in Traverse City
Median Monthly Rent in Traverse City

Major Employer Profiles

Nearly synonymous with Traverse City itself is Hagerty Insurance, leading global insurer of classic and luxury vehicles, boats, and cars. With 700 local employees and 1,000 total worldwide, CEO McKeel Hagerty has built Hagerty as a dependable, name brand company that takes advantage of the Northern Michigan lifestyle and has fully embedded itself in the community over its 35 year history in Traverse City.
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Cherry Capital Foods
Since 2007, Cherry Capital Foods has worked with Northern Michigan farmers and producers to distribute local food products throughout the state and beyond. Cherry Capital serves its customers, from restaurants to grocers, to hospitals and schools, five days a week, giving residents throughout the state a taste of Michigan’s famed, fresh, and nutritious food and beverage manufacturing.
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ATLAS Space Operations
More than just a communications company, ATLAS Space Ops was named by Morgan Stanley a “top 12 disruptor in the satellite industry.” Founded in 2015, ATLAS’s mission is to revolutionize the space communications industry, and is taking advantage of Traverse City’s growing tech talent pool. The company’s team of engineering, sales and marketing, and operations professionals is growing, and its internship program attracts students every year who are interested in gaining experience in this innovative technology field.
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Economic Development

Recent Private Investments

Breakwater Development
Jobs Created: 85+
A riverfront luxury rental apartment and retail development built on a Brownfield parking lot property at the southeast corner of North Union and Garland Streets. Jobs retained: 100+ | Size: 10,000 square feet of commercial space, 77 market-rate apartment units.
4Front Credit Union Building
Capex: $15,700,000
An administrative center and residences in a mixed-use, four story building at 305 West Front Street. Size: 73,000 sqft
Blain's Farm & Fleet
Jobs Created: 50+
Privately held, family-owned retail investment on US-31 and Rennie School Road in Blair Township. Capex: $1.6 million | Size: 16.5 acres

Recent Public Works Projects

4 Mile & Hammond Road
Type: Water, Sewer, Major Highway/Road/Rail Development
Collaboration between East Bay Township and Road Commission to install water and sewer as a part of a larger roundabout construction at 4 mile and Hammond Road. Cost: $400,000–$500,000
Acme Connector TART Trail
Type: Transportation/Trail | Cost: $950,000
Bunker Hill Road to Meijer development on Lautner Road. Will continue to M-72 with a future expansion to Elk Rapids and Charlevoix.
East Bay & Acme Sewer Main Project
Type: Sewer | Cost: $1,000,000
In June 2020, East Bay and Acme Townships embarked on a repair of over half a mile of a 42-year old sanitary sewage pipeline on US-31.
Elmwood Township Marina
Type: Other | Cost: $7,000,000
The redevelopment of Elmwood Township Marina, including construction of a new harbormaster building with public restrooms and storage, a new public fish-cleaning station, and parking lot entrance and exit improvements on M-22.
M-37 S Improvements
Type: Major Highway/Road/Rail Development | Cost: $3,500,000
MDOT to add a turn lane & 2 roundabouts on M-37 S in Blair Township.


Electric Provider:  

Consumers Energy 
Business service: 1-800-805-0490

Traverse City Light & Power
Commercial Service: 231-922-4431
New Commercial Underground: 231-922-4940

Cherryland Electric Cooperative



Natural Gas Provider:

DTE Energy
Business service: 1-855-383-4249


Broadband/Fiber Providers:

Charter Spectrum

Community Resources

Featured Organization

20 Fathoms: The home of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan, this startup incubator, coworking space, and coding community serves and connects Traverse City's entrepreneurs and tech professionals.

Economic Development Ecosystem Map

This map shows some of the many organizations in this county providing economic development related services, such as workforce training, development finance, or technical advising for businesses. Use the dropdown in the upper left hand corner to filter by People, Investment, and Place. 

“People” covers organizations that focus on early childhood care, workforce training, equity and diversity, and talent recruitment and retention.

“Investment” includes organizations that focus on industry cluster support, small business investment and technical assistance, innovation and technology development, and real estate and commercial development.

“Place”-focused organizations include tourism, arts and culture, and recreation organizations, planning and development entities, infrastructure and utility providers, and housing organizations.



City of Traverse City 
Marty Colburn, City Manager
(231) 922-4440
(231) 922-4476


Traverse City Downtown Development Authority
Jean Derenzy, Chief Executive Officer
(231) 922-2050


Traverse Connect    
Warren Call, President | CEO    
(231) 995-7108