Commercial Development Company Inc Begins Demolition at Former Janesville Assembly Plant


Janesville, WI — Commercial Development Company Inc. (CDC}, a leading North American commercial real estate and brownfield redevelopment company has officially started demolition activities at the Janesville Assembly Plant. CDC purchased the retired automotive manufacturing facility from General Motors in December 2017. Environmental Liability Transfer, Inc. (EL T) facilitated the assumption of legacy environmental liabilities associated with the site.


Since acquiring the site in December 2017, CDC has invested significant resources into repurposing the large industrial site for new utilization. Activities to date have included environmental remediation, the removal of asbestos containing materials and universal waste, and preparation for site-wide demolition.


Demolition of the site is expected to be completed in 12-18 months and will include razing of almost 4.8 million sq/ft of retired manufacturing and industrial space. For perspective, the size ofthe Janesville facility is the equivalent of 106 football fields under roof. Demolition work is being performed by Industrial Demolition LLC, a company owned by CDC that provides demolition services for CDC’s many ongoing brownfield reclamation projects. Local professionals have been hired by Industrial Demolition LLC to provide additional support for the large-scale project.


Development Potential

CDC believes the former Janesville Assembly Plant possesses unique features and logistical attributes that represent a significant opportunity for new development and new jobs for Janesville, Rock County, and the surrounding areas. Janesville’s strong workforce could play a big factor in attracting major employers following the necessary environmental abatement and demolition work.


Following the purchase announcement in December 2017, Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag stated, “This announcement marks a significant turning point for the Janesville community. Our City has benefitted from a great relationship with General Motors for nearly a century, but we are eager to start a new chapter. CDC has impressed City leaders with their professionalism and vision for the former GM site, and we anticipate a smooth transition and economic growth in our community as a result of this sale.”


CDC has engaged local real estate broker Bill Mears of Coldwell Banker Commercial McGuire Mears & Associates to help promote the development potential at the site. He has already seen significant interest in the site from regional and global prospective occupants.


“This is an incredible opportunity for industrial real estate in the city of Janesville. The amount of infrastructure that is already in place, especially the two rail lines, can’t be matched by any other site in Wisconsin,” said Mears.


Rock County Economic Development Manager James Otterstein agrees. “Once this asset is ready for vertical development, its ability to leverage Class I/ Class II rail service and an existing energy infrastructure capable of accommodating large demands, will elevate the Janesville-Beloit MSA industrial and warehousing portfolio into an even more competitive position,” said Otterstein.


Economic Opportunity Zone

Earlier this month, the former GM Janesville Assembly Plant was designated, under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, as one of the state’s Opportunity Zones (OZ). This designation provides tax incentives for long-term investment in the redevelopment of the site that could assist parties interested in locating operations to the former automotive site.


“This new equity accessible to businesses looking to locate at the former GM site from the new Opportunity Fund designation will allow for the build out of the former GM Assembly Plant in a much shorter timeframe- bringing new jobs and taxes to the city of Janesville more quickly,” said Colleen Kokas, Executive Vice President at Commercial Development Company, Inc.


About the Plant

The Janesville Assembly Plant opened its doors on May 1, 1919. It was the oldest operating GM plant when it was largely idled in December 2008. The plant ceased all remaining production on April 23, 2009. The plant employed around 7,000 employees at its peak in 1970, and employed 1,200 when it ceased production in 2008.


Located on 250+/- contiguous acres, the GM Janesville site has the potential to host 5 million square feet of mixed-use, office, warehouse, and light manufacturing space.


The Rock County interstate connectivity is a major benefit of the site’s location. Janesville is located in a transportation nexus between 1-39 and 1-90, US Highways 51 and 14, and State Highways 11 and 26.


Additionally, the City of Janesville is located within one-day semi delivery access to major Midwest hub cities, such as the Twin Cities, Des Moines, Lansing, Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, Chicago, and Milwaukee. This represent a significant benefit to end users needing to comply with federal trucking regulations that limit drive times.


These attributes and others represent a strategic opportunity for manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics-related development activity. Throughout the redevelopment process, CDC will be engaged in a global marketing campaign to find appropriate end users for this location.