Looking for employees, Northern Michigan companies are building them housing


The housing crisis has become so severe in Northern Michigan that more companies are subsidizing housing for their employees. Some go so far as to build houses for them.

The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has a long history of providing on-site accommodations for foreign workers who come to spend the summer. But its general manager, Matthew Bryant, said the station is now struggling to hire young managers because affordable rentals are so scarce.

He said five of his managers lost their homes when their apartments were converted to short-term rentals.

This month, the Grand Traverse Resort plans to open one of five apartment buildings that will house the workers.

“When I worked on Mackinac Island, the executives were housed in their accommodation. And that’s kind of where I brought that idea,” Bryant said.

He said the need was huge, with the station looking to hire around 450 additional staff. Recently, Bryant said he needed to rent a nearby apartment in order to recruit a chef.

“The hospitality industry is a start-up job where people gain experience and move into bigger jobs,” Bryant said. “However, you still need to provide and have a place to live.”

A shortage of builders has put apartment buildings behind by a year, Bryant said.

Interlochen Center for the Arts has just installed 10 new mobile homes on its campus to ease the housing burden for its employees. This summer, international workers will stay there, but the arts campus plans to offer housing for employees year-round.

Short’s Brewing Company recently purchased a 26-room motel in Bellaire, primarily to provide accommodation for its staff. It will also offer rooms for paying customers.


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