Hotel Indigo Groundbreaking Celebration

With shovels, from left: Mayor Michael Estes, Brownfield coordinator Jean Derenzy, Managing Partner Jeff Schmitz, with Grand Traverse Hotel Properties.

The owners of Hotel Indigo, the long-talked-about boutique hotel that is being built in Traverse City’s warehouse district, threw their official groundbreaking celebration today in the InsideOut Gallery, right across the alley from the construction site.

For Hotel Indigo owners, city officials, contractors and anybody else who has been rooting for the hotel, the celebration provided much longed-for opportunity to crack open champagne and toast the project that is likely to have remarkable impact on the west end of downtown, promising to bring to blossom a part of the town that has shown strong spirit, but not necessarily fantastic financial success.

I asked Jeff Schmitz, managing partner of the Grand Traverse Hotel Properties how many times he felt like bailing out on the project as it encountered one environmental cleanup issue after another in getting the site prepared. He paused for a moment, gave it a thought and said, “I’d say eight times.” 

That’s a true testament to the vision and perseverance of the large team involved in pushing the

Under construction: How the site looks today.

project forward, including not least of all Traverse City’s brownfield expert Jean Derenzy.

Schmitz also told me that the neighborhood surrounding Hotel Indigo stood as the guiding principle when designing the hotel. The hotel had to not only integrate with its neighbors, it had to express what was there. “Not cherries, not the bay, but the neighborhood,” he said.

Excellent guidepost, I’d say. A lot going the right direction in Traverse City these days and this is clearly another good example. Read a story from our April issue about how a couple decades ago a vision was forged for Traverse City’s development, and how that vision has helped shaped the city today. Miracle on Traverse City’s Main Street.

The good times continued back at InsideOut Gallery after the dirt was thrown.

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