Ferry Cap & Set Screw razed for new development

Demolition equipment sits atop large piles of debris left from the former Ferry Cap & Set Screw Company on Scranton Road in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. WXZ Development leveled the building to create a 5-acre mixed-use development site (KJP). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

WXZ Development has yet to submit plans to city


Another big, old vacant factory in Cleveland has been knocked down. But this five-story factory, the former Ferry Cap & Set Screw Co., 2151 Scranton Rd. in Tremont, was recently the subject of a redevelopment plan. Its demolition by the owner/developer and the lack of a submitted plan for the site’s reuse is an intriguing turn of events.

Independence Excavating crews were on site this week to demolish the 92,000-square-foot, 117-year-old building and haul away its debris. The site clean-up work costing $1.3 million, according to a city permit issued on April 4, will continue into next week. After that, the fate of the 5-acre site owned by an affiliate of WXZ Development Inc. of Fairview Park remains to be seen.

WXZ Development Vice President Matthew Wymer didn’t respond to an e-mail inquiry from NEOtrans seeking more information. Independence Excavating President Robert DiGeronimo didn’t return a voicemail message. And Ward 3 City Councilman Kerry McCormack told NEOtrans “I have not been updated on the plans there.”

The previous plans after WXZ affiliate 2151 Scranton Acquisition, LLC bought the property in March 2018 weren’t divulged either. However, several of the manufacturer’s buildings measuring nearly 180,000 square feet were razed by summer 2018.

Those buildings were cleared to make way for construction staging for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s new stormwater sewer overflow tunnel. That tunnel, enclosing the former Walworth Run stream, runs below city-owned land that separates the two WXZ-owned parcels.

WXZ Development owns two parcels totaling 5 acres along Scranton Road where Walworth Run meets the Cuyahoga River valley. The building that was demolished this week is visible next to the Abbey Avenue bridge at the bottom of the image (MyPlace.CuyahogaCounty.gov).

WXZ received a $4.2 million Brownfield Remediation grant in 2022 from the Ohio Department of Development to remove asbestos, contaminated soils and waste from the site. With the five-story building preserved on the site during the tunnel work, there was speculation that it would be renovated once the stormwater tunnel’s construction was completed. That construction is now done.

But during that time, the building decayed further. It has been vacant since Ferry Cap & Set Screw relocated to Lakewood in 2008, according to Abandoned. Vegetation grew on the building’s roof. Windows were left open to the elements. And a complaint was received in November 2022 by the city about the building being open to trespassers and vandalized. So the city hired a contractor in December 2022 to board up the building, city records show.

While development plans for the site haven’t been submitted to the city, the developer’s past and the city’s zoning for the site gives some indication as to what might be proposed for the property, unless WXZ will seek a lot of zoning variances. Foremost, WXZ has a track record of renovating or building townhomes and apartment buildings, the latter sometimes having ground-floor commercial spaces.

Of the two parcels owned by WXZ Development, one parcel measures 3.45 acres and has the demolition work occurring on it now. The other measures 1.63 acres. They are separated by the narrow stormwater tunnel property which cannot have buildings built atop it. But it can have driveways, parking lots, greenspaces or other public realms on it.

The five-story Ferry Cap & Set Screw building stood in September 2021, waiting its turn to be redeveloped following the construction of a stormwater sewer overflow tunnel through the site of the former industrial plant (Google).

The two parcels have the same zoning. They are allowed to have buildings constructed on them that are up to 175 feet high. In other words, a residential building that’s about 16 or 17 stories tall is permitted. That doesn’t mean WXZ will build that high, but the site’s characteristics may justify it even if the financial market right now doesn’t.

The site is in a deep ravine that is widening toward the Cuyahoga River valley with few residential neighbors. Buildings put here can offer a panoramic view of the river and Downtown Cleveland. It is next to the Towpath Trail with easy access to shops and restaurants in Ohio City and Tremont — especially if a building was somehow connected via a pedestrian link to the Abbey Avenue bridge.

The parcels are zoned with a semi-industrial classification, meaning that there are few restrictions on what uses can be built there. But there are restrictions that come from both parcels being on Scranton which has an Urban Frontage Line along it. One of the most significant is that no less than 80 percent of the Scranton frontage of each parcel should have a building or buildings constructed along it, the city’s zoning code proscribes.

Its area use designation “K” allows the greatest density under the city’s code. Up to 1.3 million square feet of floor space in buildings can be built for the two parcels total. However, since the two lots are separated by the sewer tunnel right of way, there would have to be at least two buildings. One, for the north lot, could be a maximum of 425,436 square feet and the other, for the lot near Abbey, could be as much as 900,882 square feet.

Today, the Ferry Cap & Set Screw building is gone while heavy machinery works to load its debris into trucks for removal. Abbey Avenue bridge in the background. The bridge crosses Walworth Run and links Tremont and Ohio City (KJP).

That may be easier to achieve for the parcel that’s closest to the overhead Abbey Avenue bridge. Only about 120 feet of that parcel fronts Scranton. For the other parcel that continues north to the corner of University Road, about 500 feet fronts Scranton. University is not designated with an Urban Frontage Line.

Ground-floor non-residential spaces must have a main pedestrian entrance from the primary street frontage and be recessed so as not to swing over the public right-of-way or patio space, the code continues. Ground-floor residential units must have a main pedestrian entrance to the street frontage with a porch or stoop required.

At least 60 percent of residential units facing primary or secondary streets must have balconies. Garage doors fronting principal or secondary streets are not permitted. Parking structures along principal or secondary streets are required to be hidden by a liner building.

Properties with urban frontages cannot have open sales lots, car washes, gas station pump islands, drive-throughs in front of buildings or parking lots as a main use. All of these uses or locations of uses are considered in the zoning code to be the antithesis of a pleasant and safe walkable setting.


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