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Local
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Former GM site now being marketed for auction

JANESVILLE

Want to bid on 114 acres of former General Motors factory property on Janesville’s south side?

You’ve got until 5 p.m. Nov. 11 to vie for the property through an auction now being advertised online.

You also could opt to bid on the 112-acre former JATCO haul-away yard that’s along Kellogg Avenue, just south of the main GM plant site. Or you could try to buy both. The “minimum bid” for each of the two properties starts at $750,000, according to online listings for the large properties.

Then there’s a 14-acre parking lot parcel on West State Street just east of the main plant site that’s being listed for sale for a minimum bid of $250,000, according to the listings.

Commercial real estate broker the Future of Real Estate has listed the collective 250 acres as a “rare industrial infill development opportunity” in an auction “event” that’s being managed by Future of Real Estate brokers and Janesville broker Coldwell Banker McGuire-Mears & Associates.

Anthony Wahl 

Workers with Silha & Sons are seen on the former General Motors factory property on Tuesday after signs for an upcoming online auction went on display fences that surround the former GM properties.

Signs advertising the auction also are on display on the chain-link fences that surround the former GM properties.

It’s not the first time the former GM site has been put on the market since its owner, St. Louis firm Commercial Development Company, bought the defunct plant property from GM in late 2017 and began clearing it.

GM shuttered the Janesville plant in 2009, during the Great Recession.

The auction could mark a new chapter for the cleared out property after the state Department of Natural Resources OK’d the bulk of the former main plant site for an environmental cleanup plan.

After more than a year of environmental review, the DNR gave the nod to Commercial Development’s plans to leave in place heavy concrete foundations from large swaths of the main plant site. Commercial Development has said it views the concrete at the main plant site as cover for contamination underground from nearly 100 years of industrial use.

Under Commercial Development’s proposals, redevelopment could occur using the concrete at the main site as a base that would continue to cover contamination and leave it undisturbed, the company said in proposals to the DNR.

The auction listings come with a volume of closing cost sheets and environmental reports from the DNR and Commercial Development, most readied for the listing during the month of July.

Anthony Wahl 

Signs advertising the auction of three parcels former General Motors factory property are on display on the chain link fences that surround the former GM properties.

Anyone who seeks to bid on the properties is required to place a $1,000 bid deposit and submit a financing plan.

People who seek to tour the sites are being asked to register through the auction site for temporary access to the property.

The $750,000 minimum bids for the two main properties are well below initial asking prices for the properties when Coldwell Banker first began marketing the properties in 2018. At that time, the main plant property had a sticker price of $7.4 million, and the former JATCO site was being marketed for $7.3 million.

As of Tuesday, the two Coldwell Banker listings from 2018 remained active.

Commercial Development bought the property in 2017 for $9.6 million, according to state Department of Revenue property transfer records.

Anthony Wahl 

Signs advertising the auction of three parcels former General Motors factory property are on display on the chain link fences that surround the former GM properties.

A Future of Real Estate broker listed on the auction advertisement could not be reached for further details on the auction.

Commercial Development spent the last few years removing the 2 million square feet of former auto manufacturing plant structure and equipment from the main site. The former plant site and the haul-away yard to the south since 2018 have been identified as an industrial redevelopment site suited for new manufacturing, warehousing and logistics development activity with access to existing rail spurs and a large-scale electric substation.

The property is largely cleared. But on Tuesday, a Gazette reporter observed a large end loader scooping up and dumping what appeared to be broken concrete or rock rubble that remains piled along the west side of the former plant’s main site.

Over the last year, even as the former plant site remained under environmental review, local brokers said they fielded interest in the properties.

Anthony Wahl 

Workers with Silha & Sons are seen on the former General Motors factory property on Tuesday after signs for an upcoming online auction went on display fences that surround the former GM properties.


Janesville Parker’s Kylee Skrzypchak tries to hit around two Madison Memorial blockers during their match in Janesville on Tuesday, Sept. 14.


Government
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$1.6 million in state funding to battle COVID-19 allotted to Rock County

JANESVILLE

The Rock County Public Health Department is set to receive more than $1.6 million in additional pandemic-related funding that will allow the county’s top health agency to maintain increased staffing levels and other operations.

Rock County will receive $1,620,300 in funding through the end of 2024. The latest round of aid comes from the state’s Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funding and Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established by the federal American Rescue Plan.

Rock County Health Officer Katrina Harwood said the county will use a majority of the funding, around $1.1 million, to retain staff brought on after the pandemic began in the spring of 2020.

“This extra round of funding helps us continue to address the pandemic locally, and we would not be able to address the pandemic without the additional staff,” Harwood said. “This funding we are getting helps relieve a little bit of that stress we experience.”

Since mid-2020, the health department has added 16 staff members, a 45% increase in employees. Positions added range from public health specialists to assist with administrative tasks and public health nurses brought on to manage contact tracing and disease activity in the county.

“We are still in a position where we need additional staff, so a large portion of this funding is continued COVID response,” Harwood said. “The team has built up their exceptional skills to meet the needs of the county during the pandemic.”

The additional funding will be used by the health department to assist in vaccination efforts and pandemic recovery.

Harwood said the scope of the pandemic and drawn-out nature of the pandemic were major challenges for Rock County and local health units across the country.

“The pandemic has exposed a lot of public health problems both on social determinant and health outcome levels,” Harwood said.

Going forward, Harwood stressed the need for state lawmakers to find ways to add annual funding for local health departments as communities come out of the pandemic.


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