A worker uses an excavator to work on the grounds of the former GM plant Monday, March 5, in Janesville. Commercial Development Company of St. Louis bought the 4.8-million-square-foot former auto plant and the nearly 300 acres surrounding it in December. Commercial Development has said it intends to begin razing some or all of the plant property this spring.

Angela Major


It appears Janesville’s defunct General Motors plant could begin to topple April 1.

According to an online hiring advertisement posted this week, the company that bought the shuttered south-side plant last year is hiring heavy-machinery operators to handle demolition at the site.

Commercial Development Company is seeking operators of excavators and large track loaders for a “local project demolishing (the) former GM Janesville plant,” according to the advertising.

The ad, published on GazetteXtraJobs, The Gazette’s job-posting site, said new hires would start work April 1.

John Kowalik, a Commercial Development spokesman, confirmed Wednesday that the company is hiring demolition equipment operators. He said he believes the company tentatively plans to start demolishing the plant at the beginning of April.

Kowalik said he wasn’t immediately able to give more details about the project.

Commercial Development, a brownfield redevelopment company based in St. Louis, announced in December that it planned to demolish all or part of the 4.8-million-square-foot plant and redevelop the site for multiple industrial spaces.

GM shuttered the plant in 2009. The nearly 100-year-old facility sat idle until October 2015, when GM announced it would permanently close it and sell the property.

Commercial Development paid GM $9.6 million for the property, according to state records, and the company says it has agreed to assume environmental and cleanup liabilities linked to the plant.

According to the hiring advertising, heavy-equipment operators will demolish the former plant over 10 to 12 months.

Commercial Development has said it had intended to work on asbestos abatement inside the plant early this year, prior to full-scale demolition this spring.

Some activity has ramped up in recent weeks, with local observers posting on social media sites that they’ve seen large demolition vehicles being brought in to the plant site.

City officials have said the company in January invited a city team into the plant for a walk-through. The team included city department officials, a documentary film crew and officials from the Rock County Historical Society, City Manager Mark Freitag wrote in an earlier email to The Gazette.

Part of the team’s work was to gather historical items from inside the plant, Freitag said.

A Gazette photographer this week observed earth-moving equipment moving dirt on the north side of the plant, off Delavan Drive.

A gate security guard at the property told a Gazette reporter late last week and early this week that managers of Commercial Development’s demolition team were not immediately available to comment.

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse