Battle Creek Graphic Packaging demolition, land donation to aid in river naturalization

Graphic Packaging’s Battle Creek facility will soon be reduced to rubble.

Tuesday, nonprofit Battle Creek Unlimited, or BCU, and New Mill Capitol Holdings announced plans to demolish Graphic Packaging’s 350,000-square-foot building at 79 East Fountain Street.

This comes nearly two years after the facility shuttered its doors in August 2022 due to industry supply, demand and a $600 million expansion at its neighboring Kalamazoo facility, officials said May 27, 2022.

Demolition of the former facility is expected to support BCU’s ongoing Kalamazoo River naturalization and redevelopment project, which looks to not only increase Battle Creek’s “vibrancy,” but serve as a “hub for the greater community,” according to officials.

So far, the nonprofit has been awarded $13 million from Michigan’s budget for the project, but more grant dollars are being pursued as work evolves, officials said.

“Partnering with New Mill Capital Holdings on these donations have given us a leg up and has shaved years off the process to naturalize the river,” Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited, said. “It has also allowed us to stretch the $13 million dollar grant from the state and make those dollars go further. We are grateful for their partnership and understanding of Battle Creek’s vision to redevelop this area.”

Expected to last about 10 months, incoming work is anticipated to remove the building and its parking lots between the former Ralston/Treehouse building and Graphic Packaging International, officials said.

Once complete, the space is expected to be donated to BCU.

“We believe we have created a win win for everyone involved and although the full-on naturalization/redevelopment may be years out, we are excited to see the naturalization project come to fruition,” Greg Schain, Principal at New Mill Capital Holdings, said.

With the addition of Graphic Packaging, the total amount of land available to BCU stands at about 800,000 square-feet.

Square-footage donated to BCU from New Mill Capitol Holdings includes the 350,000 square-foot space from Graphic Packaging, and 450,000-square-feet from the Ralston/Treehouse facility.


Originally posted on News Channel 3 by Katie Sergent