Demolition is starting at the old site of Columbus Castings, a complex with 44 acres under roof and several more acres of area grounds.
Reich Brothers Inc., which buys and sells industrial properties, purchased the 112-year-old complex in bankruptcy court in 2016, a few months after its previous owner stopped operations and laid off about 800 people.
Columbus Castings was the largest steel foundry in the United States, turning molten metal into undercarriages for railway cars. The company employed many in the community, but Kyle Kaiser is happy to see the building finally go. Kaiser lives just south of the site on Parsons Avenue.
“It's an eyesore,” Kaiser says. “The foundation on the outside around it then going up Parsons, you can see that it’s, like, caving in on the bottom. I don’t know, it could use a paint job and stuff like that.”
Jeffrey Cooper also lives south of the original Columbus Castings building. He has a problem with the pollution.
“It stinks bad and the pollution and it creates traffic. The people who work there are bad too and it creates a bad environment around the area,” Cooper says. “The air pollution, it turns all the houses and stuff colors and stuff. And the smell of it is terrible. And it’s a good thing it’s gone.”
Reich Bros. said they plan to clean-up and develop the site, for industrial or retail use. The timeline for redevelopment following the demolition is not yet clear.