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Milford OKs 4-story apartments on vacant village land

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Milford — The village of Milford is about to get a bit bigger — er, at least taller.

Council recently approved the largest project in the village in six decades: 100 apartment units in two four-story buildings on the site of a former lumber yard.

Work on the $22 million District Lofts is to get underway this fall.

“The project is one of the larger development proposals in the village,” Village Manager Christian Wuerth said. “While there was opposition due to the height the Village Council voted to approve the project as it will convert a former industrial site into a residential use and more closely meet the objectives outlined in the Community Master Plan which calls for mixed use development in this area of Downtown Milford.”

Ann Barnette, director of the Milford Downtown Development Authority, said there was no objection from the 200 businesses, including 30 restaurants, within the village limits. About 6,300 people live in the village that was founded in 1832.

“This is the largest project in Milford in 60 years and the only multifamily project in 50 years,” she said.

“It is a bit larger and denser that we would have liked but we supported the project and see it as a way to retain the village’s traditional style of development and walkability,” Barnette said. “It is on a 41/2-acre site which about eight years ago had been industrial with semi-truck traffic going in and out.”

The project, by DevMar Development LLC of Bingham Farms, will take place along East Huron, south of the downtown district in the 21/2-square-mile village. Two four-story structures will have one- and two-bedroom loft-style apartments of about 850 to 1,350 square feet and 13 penthouse apartments of 1,350 square feet. Rents will range from $1,300 to $2,000 a month, according to a press release.

Developer Mark DeMaria described Milford in southwest Oakland County as a “highly desirable location” for the project.

“When I look for a location to develop, I look for walkable communities with a nice mix of retail, entertainment, outdoor recreation and great dining experiences; add to that great events like Milford Memories and the concerts in the park that will give my residents a way to immediately become a part of their new town,” DeMaria said. “Milford has all of that with access to five parks, walking trails, rivers and streams.”

The council voted 4-1 for approval with one member, who lives near the project, abstaining from voting and another member absent.

Barnette said the apartment project meets a growing trend where millennials are drawn to an area “but aren’t interested in buying a house” and aging, active baby boomers “are attracted to apartment living that is within walking distance of restaurants, shops, entertainment and outdoor activity.”

Barnette said she doesn’t anticipate the project changing the character of Milford.

“It will bring some change to the south end of the village but is a perfect positioned area with quality of place, lifestyle, walkability and bike paths connecting to a Metro Park and the Huron River going through the downtown,” she said.

“We are all very protective of our village,” she said. “Milford is going to remain Milford.”

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