By Al Zehnder, CEO of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth
The grain milling industry in Frankenmuth has a long history. In 1847, just two years after the founding of Frankenmuth, the Hubinger brothers built their mill on the banks of the Cass River.
While operating successfully for a number of years and having rebuilt after a catastrophic fire in 1909, the Hubinger family eventually sold their operation to their competitors, the Star of the West in 1921. They operated the mill until 1956 and then sold the mill and property to the Frankenmuth Brewing Company who deemed it obsolete and demolished the structure.
In the 1980’s, a group of local business leaders banded together to recreate the 1910 Mill on that same site which opened in 1984. The milling of wheat and a variety of grains was more of an historical demonstration as opposed to a serious commercial venture.
A variety of retail concepts operated on the east side of the structure until the last one left in 2017, leaving the mill vacant. The then owners of the mill, the City of Frankenmuth and the Frankenmuth Historical Association decided to sell their interest in 2021.
Given the close proximity to our properties, just south of Zehnder’s restaurant, we were immediately interested and purchased the property in 2022. The process of restoration of this historic landmark will begin in early September. Having sat vacant for nearly 6 years, time, the elements and lack of maintenance have taken their toll. Our initial focus will be on the exterior of the structure. A new roof, windows, exterior siding and relocation of services will be phase one. We anticipate the first phase of the project to be completed in about 10 months.
After phase one completion, we’ll set the timeline for completion of our boutique, luxury lodging property, The Mill at Zehnder Park.
I’ll keep you posted!
Al Zehnder, CEO