Living Here

The New Neighborhood housing fabric is rich with design. Lot owners can choose their own builders and plan their own homes, or buy a pre-built house if one is available. Quality and character is encouraged through a simple Design Review process and by virtue of the street pattern which extends the Victorian-era portion of Empire Village. Front porches, building patterns and materials historically used to build northern Michigan towns are encouraged. This is explained in more detail in the Design Guidelines Brochure.

The lots in the New Neighborhood are organized into 5 Phases, starting with northernmost Phase One begun in 2002. Water, gas, and electric service run in a utility easement along each lot. A community drain field serves the lots of each phase. These coordinated ‘ready-to-go’ services represent a huge savings in land use and construction costs. The Property Owners Association of each phase is charged with care of the common green areas and community septic system.

Front porches, front yards and sidewalks can offer everyday social connections that feed the soul. Using the historic development patterns employed in the New Neighborhood, we hope to re-establish the long-standing American tradition of ‘close-knit’ community.

Village-wide festivals and get-togethers enrich the local social life in every season:

  • Asparagus Festival welcomes in spring on the third weekend in March. Parade highlights are often featured on U-Tube.
  • Anchor Day Parade and festivities during the third weekend in July celebrate finding the large anchor displayed at Empire Beach.
  • Heritage Day celebrates the Victorian era roots of Empire, one of many sawmill towns once dotting the shores of Lake Michigan. The indoor and outdoor exhibits of the Empire Museum are manned with costumed locals and history buffs in early October–often coinciding with the peak autumn color change of the surrounding forests. Visit site here.
  • Evening in the Village and the Artisan Market in the Town Hall support local craftworkers in December.
  • WinterFest – among other festivities of the weekend, Jump in the Lake with a growing number of hearty souls in early February.

Enjoy the casual social events of the area on your own schedule—potlucks and spectacular sunsets at the beach, some of the best chocolate in the country at our friendly local chocolatier, apple or blueberry picking in the old homesteads of the Lakeshore, or riding the BATA bus to Traverse City events like the Cherry Festival or the Film Festival.