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Demolition crews bring down part of a downtown Jackson landmark, sparing another

After days of worry, demolition crews successfully brought down part of one downtown Jackson landmark without damaging another.

Demolition crews have spent months gutting the old Consumers Energy headquarters in Jackson.

But Thursday, part of the building started leaning precariously toward a century and a half old church next door.  First Congregational Church and other nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution.


For two days, workers used torches to cut steel beams and used a wrecking ball to repeatedly jolt the tilting the leaning tower of steel and cement. Finally they attached cables to the top of the structure and pulled.

The eight story tall column twisted.  First toward the church, then steel beams started to buckle.

The structure collapsed into a heap, safely away from the church.     The demolition company is expected to take a few days to clean up the debris before moving on the rest of the project.

The two million dollar demolition project is far from finished.    

Jackson Mayor Martin Griffin says the demolition project has gone well, despite some problems, including a fire that briefly trapped several workers on the building’s upper floors.   They were able to escape uninjured.  

Griffin admits the latest problem has affected the schedule.

“Obviously I think this will put them behind schedule.  I think they had planned on this all being down and being able to haul it away,” says Griffin.

It will still take at least a month to bring down the rest of the building.

There’s no long term plan for the land, though in the short term it will be turned into a green space in downtown Jackson.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.