New Franklin Farm Preserves Old Natural Areas

As seen in The Eccentric
by Larry Paladino

Monday, July 31, 1995 The days when Franklin was a village of farms are long gone, but Franklin Farms, the residential development, is starting to take shape on Telegraph, just north of 13 Mile. The 15-acre site, formerly known as the Burger Farm, will be developed with nine homes expected to cost between $600,000 and $1 million apiece. It is the fourth development in the village, totaling more than 60 lots, by the Southfield-based Franklin Property Corporation. “Quality homes are going in there and we’re looking forward to it. It’s very progressive,” said Franklin councilman Dick Glass.

“Most of us on the council feel it’s a better development than if it was commercial and we’d have to fight those kinds of battles.” Andrew Milia, president of Franklin Property Corporation, said the new development will be a prestigious one. “We’re preserving the natural areas and restoring the barn on the property. Structurally it’s fine, but we’re restoring it to its original specifications and developing a detention area around it,” Milia said.

The “Burger barn” was built in 1941 and as a 50-year-old plus structure could be deemed suitable for historic preservation, although no formal action has been taken to do that by the Franklin Historical Society. Road construction has been completed, Milia said, and landscaping will start soon, including a $100,000 project at the entrance way.

It will include mature pine trees and rustic stone walls. “The development is truly unique as it offers a buyer an estate-size parcel which cannot be found in other new subdivisions but also allows the buyer to choose their own architect and builder,” he said. “The site has gone through a careful two-year planning and development process.” “It’s a unique development because of the country setting,” Milia said. “We’re maintaining a community area for the barn and a natural meadow running through the area.” The property was purchased from Helen Burger, who still owns the adjacent property.

She was among a number of persons who wrote letters endorsing the project. “Franklin has taken off. It’s incredible the demand there for home sites,” said Ray Fox of Re-Max Executive, a Realtor in Farmington Hills who is handling the Franklin Farm site sales. “The area is going through a Renaissance,” he said, evolving from a community with few children to one with quite a few. “Franklin is like a hidden jewel,” he said.

Fox said sewers coming to the village have had a big impact on developments like Franklin Farms. “Building permits must have increased 200 percent since the availability of the sewer system,” Fox said. “In the past, those properties where the developments are going in were not buildable because of the lack of sewers. The pressure sewer is a godsend for future development, and from a resale standpoint, it adds a considerable amount of value.”