General Motors, Lansing Township Agree to Demolition

General Motors Corporation will begin demolishing two vacant factories in Lansing Township by the end of this month. The plants stopped production in 2006.

At a joint planning commission and general town meeting last week, Lansing Township approved demolition of the factories as long as GM will comply with the resolution. The resolution says GM will cover the site with vegetation and remove all structural remains of the plant. GM and the township started talks a year ago in February 2007.

Matt Brinkley, the assistant planner for the township said during the township meeting that the “issue [was] whether or not and under what conditions will the plants be demolished.”

GM decided against the re-use of the buildings due to lack of insulation, an inefficient and out-of-date floor plan and an average monthly utility cost of $1.5 million.

The plan calls for GM to cover the 168-acre site with vegetation by seeding or sodding. GM will remove all slabs, footings, parking lots and pathways. Any ground cavities will be filled with sand, gravel and/or dirt. The property will also meet environmental requirements for storm water runoff.

GM will also post a bond of $5 million to insure that the project is completed on time.

Originally, GM proposed leaving a portion of the property covered in crushed concrete, which GM claims will be a valuable raw material when the property is redeveloped. GM spokesman Tom Jeffers said that crushed concrete “is necessary to pour the foundation for roads or buildings. Leaving the concrete would make it easier to access when the property is being redeveloped.”

The township planning commission said that members of the public and township officials were worried about the effects the concrete ground cover would have on the environment.

Jeffers said that GM will comply with the township’s request, but it would be easier to sell the property if the material was easy to access. “It will cost more to redevelop the land if you put dirt and grass over the material that [developers] want.”

The plan calls for the demolition of the site to be completed by August 31, 2010. GM expects the majority of the demolition to take about 20 months. GM and the township have no future plans for the site. GM plans to market the property to developers after demolition is completed.

Members of the township are hoping that the property will be used and not stay vacant. Brinkley said he hopes the property will be put to use economically. “We want to get something [that] is a resource to the community,” said Brinkley. “Some economic development as opposed to [about] 150 acres of open space.”

Township Supervisor John Daher said he would “like to see a mixed use of the property.” Daher said that a combination of residential, retail, medical, senior housing and office complex would be ideal to the community. Daher said he is also hoping that the property will develop into a walking community, with parks and biking paths. “These things are necessary for a community in the twenty-first century.”

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