Village at Grand Traverse: Empty Michigan Asylum Now Glam Digs

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What if we told you that you could live in a former mental hospital? We can already tell what you’re thinking. Images of rundown buildings with boarded-up windows, creaking doors and dark, dingy hallways — the types of places that ghosts haunt — must be coming to mind. On the contrary: Look at the photo above. That’s the place we were referring to.

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, tucked away among the trees in the picturesque postcard-ready town of Traverse City, Mich., evokes nothing of its storied past. For a century, it was known as the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane, the state’s largest mental institution. According to The New York Times, it once housed as many as 3,000 patients. But today, it’s an Old-English-style village with a splash of Victorian elegance and offices, bakeries, a cheesecake shop, a wine bar and adorable apartments and luxury condos. And it’s one of the most amazing conversions we’ve ever seen.

The complex had been left to rot once the asylum, opened in 1885, shut down in 1989. For the next decade, while under the control of the local government, it fell into ruin, and the main building was considered for demolition, according to Curbed. But preservationists fought for a like-minded developer to take over the property — and that’s what they got.

The Minervini family acquired the then-vacant 63-acre property for only $1 in 2002. Sinking tens of millions of dollars into remodeling and restoration, the Minervinis slowly turned the complex’s chipped walls, broken windows and floors covered in layers of dust and broken plaster into chic, modern and bright residences. With units ranging from 300-square-foot studios to 3,800-square-foot luxury condos (three of which are priced at $500,000), the mental institution-turned-village will be able to house some 1,000 residents once the entire project is complete. Remember, we told you it’s one of the most amazing transformations we’ve ever seen, so take a look at some before and after photos of the village in the gallery below.

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See more:
Best and Worst Home Transformations
Extreme Home Makeovers: From Sorry to Stunning
Conversion Therapy: Turning Old Factories Into Glam Homes

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