ROCHESTER HILLS, MI-A historic paper mill residents have been fighting to save will be razed and replaced with condominiums. The Rochester planning commission has approved final site plans for the 184-unit Mill Town condo development just southeast of Downtown.

Members of the Rochester-Avon Historical Society had urged developer Trident Properties to keep and somehow re-use the shuttered 1870s mill on the site. Instead, bricks from the building will be used to create a roughly half-acre historical plaza including a replica of one of its walls and chimney.

The historical plaza is designed to commemorate the site’s importance to local history and will also include photos and plaques. The mill will be demolished sometime this winter, and construction on the three-bedroom, stacked condos in four-story buildings will begin in the spring. Tom Turnbull, vice president of Trident Properties, says he hopes to have them ready for residents in a year from now.

Many people have already shown an interest in living there, he says. Turnbull and city officials say the development will draw shoppers and diners to Downtown.

“You will have 184 families within walking distance of Main Street,” Turnbull says. “That’s going to be a tremendous influx of people who can just walk from their front doors to the front doors of businesses.”

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