Crowell-Collier still on track to be down by Christmas

The demolition of Crowell-Collier is on pace to wrap up before the year’s end, according to Tony Smith Wrecking.

Site supervisor Aaron Bush said they’ve been lucky — they haven’t run into any unforeseen hurdles and Mother Nature has been on their side.

“The weather has really helped us out a lot,” he said. “The snow and freeze will slow us down.”

As of Monday, crews had torn down about 25 percent of the complex.

Crowell-Collier was once the printing home of the world’s largest magazine publishing company.

It closed as a publishing plant just before Christmas in 1956 — but this Christmas will prove to be another milestone for the site.

Bush said within another 30-45 days, he expects both remaining buildings of Crowell-Collier to be on the ground.

The once 900,000-square-foot structure occupied an entire city block, and was the largest in Springfield, before demolition of some of the property began in 2014. The structure had about 400,000 square-feet left to be torn down when demolition of the complete structure was announced in August.

For weeks, crews have been focusing their efforts on the building that faces West High Street. They’re taking all the buildings down slowly but surely with traditional equipment — Tony Smith Wrecking told the News-Sun previously that implosion of either of the buildings would be too dangerous, after a coordinated decision with the City of Springfield.

Bush said that building is taking more time because it’s older and bigger than the building opposite of it.

He expects the latter building to come down much faster.

Last week a portion of West High was closed to traffic for a period of time, and drivers should be ready for more closures as the demolition project progresses.

“Wittenberg (Avenue) will be closed within the next week or two,” Bush said. “We hope it’s only for a day or two at a time.”

The property has proved problematic for decades before demo started, including fires and falling debris onto the street.

It’s unclear if there are any redevelopment plans in the works for the property after the site is cleared.

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