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ROCHESTER HILLS, MI-Meadow Brook Village Mall will be getting a large facelift, and a name change. The mall is transforming into The Village of Rochester Hills.

The city council are allowing developer Robert B. Aikens of Troy to transform the current small indoor mall on 15 acres at Walton and Adams roads into a spread-out village square on 31 acres.

“It’s going to be a full-scale kind of town center, with two anchors and 40 other odd retailers on both sides of a main street,” says Paul Kesman, spokesman for the developer.

The shopping center will total 375,000 sf and is scheduled to open inSeptember 2002.

“The development will create a community-based anchor for Rochester Hills,” Aikens says. “Fully 22% of the site will be green space.”

JPRA of Farmington Hills will oversee the architecture while Grissim/Metz Associates of the city will be the project’s landscape architect.

Parisian, a division of Saks, will open a 120,000-sf store at The Village, along with a Farmer Jack Food Emporium. Other retailers that have signed on include Abercrombie and Fitch, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, Talbot’s and Banana Republic.

The plan for the mall has been in place for some time, but was hampered by local dissent, Kesman says. Aikens has owned the property for 30 years.

Kesman says the developer approached the city in 1991 for plans to develop on the site. However, those plans fell through while Parisian recovered from near bankruptcy.

Kesman says in 1995-96 the city was under pressure from some of theneighbors to save the land and it was rezoned from vacant land to cluster housing.

“That didn’t sit too well with Aikens, so they filed a lawsuit. Four years later, they have finally reached a consent judgment,” he adds.

The consent judgment was signed in 2000, and had a three-year timetable on development, Kesman says. Aikens stepped up the required 2003 opening date.

The affluent mall will require road changes and about 1,500 parking spaces.

Kesman says the mall won’t have a nearby competitor. “Most residents in the area who want to do upscale shopping have to drive down to Troy to Somerset Mall. We’re really trying to hit the upper Oakland County area, where $1-million homes are becoming the normal price for housing,” Kesman said.

Kesman would not reveal the development costs, which Aikens has kept closely guarded.

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