Morris Farms may become a massive development

Published 7:07 pm Friday, December 28, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – A brighter future may be in sight for Niles and Buchanan, thanks to one family who hopes to give back to a community they've called home for more than 70 years.
Nancy Butler and her family, which own 935 acres located along the St. Joseph River in Niles Township, recently announced their intention to develop their property into something the entire community can be proud of.
Also known as Morris Farms, the Butler family seeks to create a residential and retail development for the mature adult real estate market segment.
"Cricket" Butler, president of Butler Family Enterprises, said Friday Morris Farms will offer a variety of amenities to "satisfy and delight" residents as well as Niles and Buchanan community members.
"Our family has always given back. That started with my mother's grandfather, E.M. Morris. This is the place we've called home since the 1930's and we want to give back to the community. It is extremely important to mom that this project protect the beauty and serenity of Morris Farms," Butler said.
Some of the development will include condominium buildings and townhouses, located on an 80-acre riverfront section. These will offer stunning up-river views, diverse topography, a community swimming pool and social club, Butler said.
"We will not be just another traditional housing development. This will be special for the people of this community," Butler said.
Butler would not say when construction on the project will begin. Plans have yet to be presented to township and other government officials.
Also, he would not comment on the cost to develop the project.
He said other features will include parks and trails that offer plenty of walking and jogging options and single family properties. Many other recreational services, such as a golf course will complement the development.
Morris Village is intended to be the town's center, he said, where residents will gather to shop in unique retail stores and boutiques, as well as being able to dine at eating establishments. Various activities will also take place at the community center, he hopes.
Plans also include a resort, adjacent to the town center, along with neo-traditional designed single family residences.
The resort will sit on a bluff overlooking a two-mile stretch of the river and will feature spa facilities, riverfront cabins, reunion homes, an all-suite hotel, as well as houses which back up to a championship golf course.
Butler said plans also call for a continuing care retirement community for 500 residents, which he hopes will sit at a high point on the property.
Current structures on the property, such as the Centre Meeting House, will stay in their existing locations.
Not only will this project take a lot of work, but Butler said it's definitely going to take time. However, he would not say how much time before the first residents will be able to move into the development.