Luxury Replaces Livestock Developer converts farm property into $7-million development of custom homes.

As seen in The Detroit News
By R.J. King

Tuesday, October 17, 1995 The Burger family could have easily sold a 15-acre parcel they owned on busy Telegraph Road in Franklin to retail or office developers. But the property had an unusual landmark – a candy-apple red barn that was built in 1940 and was home to goats, sheep, horses and a burro. “We still live here on 5-acres and there’s no way we wanted a high-rise or strip mall as neighbors,” said Ruth Burger Distler, former owner of the wooded parcel and mother of two children. “We wanted the barn saved because of all the childhood memories. So we sold the 15-acres and made sure the barn was part of the new plans.”

The property is being converted to Franklin Farms, a $7-million development which will feature nine custom homes ranging in price from $600,000 to $1 million. Each home will come with a 1.5-acre lot and is near the Franklin River, the same waterway which powers the nearby Franklin Cider Mill. The lots cost between $175,000 and $279,000 and are served by the Birmingham school district. “Because we’re along Telegraph, we constructed a 12-foot berm, a stone wall and planted 20-year-old evergreens at a cost of $75,000,” said Franklin Farms developer Andrew Milia.

Milia, president of Franklin Property Corporation in Southfield, plans to develop two other parcels in Franklin, both of which will offer single-family homes on large wooded lots. Franklin Forest, a 20-site development on 26-acres, should start next year. The other parcel has yet to be planned, but will be located on 13 Mile, west of Telegraph. Following those developments, open land will be fairly scarce as Franklin maintains a strict zoning ordinance. To date, the village has 1,000 homes. There is room for 200 more. “We’re zoned residential except for our-little village of shops in the center of town,” said Dick Glass, Franklin councilman. “We’re the town that time forgot. “People here want to maintain that rural aspect. We live in a busy area, but once you get into Franklin, it’s like driving in the country-side.” Of 2,200 Franklin residents, the more prominent include developer Jerry Schostak, industrialist Max Fisher, former Highland Appliance owner Eugene Mondry and New York Carpet World owner Irv Nusbaum.