Illinois company buys long-closed Gary factory
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org/302-0949 February 5, 2014 11:18PM
Several buildings are part of the old Screw & Bolt Co. factory that closed in 1986. The city is selling the property at 901 Alabama St. | Carole Carlson/Post-Tribune
Updated: March 7, 2014 1:40PM
GARY — An Illinois industrial materials recycling business will pay $519,700 to purchase the old Screw & Bolt Co. factory, near U.S. 20 and Interstate 65.
The Redevelopment Commission awarded the 20-acre site to top bidder Environmental Cleansing, of Markham, Ill., on Wednesday.
The other bidder was Restore LLC, of New York, which submitted a bid of $495,000. Restore wanted to use the site to convert old tires into diesel fuel and other products.
Acting Commission President Kenya A. Jones said after the meeting the commission believed it would be in the best interest of the city to go with Environmental Cleansing’s offer. It plans to pay cash, with no contingencies.
Sean Blieden represented Environmental Cleansing and he also owns Mid America Scrap Group Inc. in Michigan City. He said the company plans a total investment of about $1.29 million in the property at 901 Alabama St.
The company, which is licensed to do asbestos removal and underground tank removal, will add 10 to 15 new jobs and maintain its headquarters at the site, he said. The jobs, which will pay $12 to $25 an hour, include laborers, operators, truck drivers and administrative workers.
The property will be used to store scrap metal, wood, concrete, glass, and paper. Much of the scrap is sold to steel mills, he said.
“Depending on the economy and the steel industry, the jobs could triple in five years. Scrap prices are high now,” Blieden said.
He said the company also plans to build a rail spur to connect to the Norfolk and Southern rail line on Screw & Bolt’s south side. The plan is to buy old rail cars being scrapped. The spur would hold up to 20 rail cars, he said.
He said a portion of the old factory, which manufactured tons of bolts, nuts, rivets, rods and fasteners used during World War II, could be demolished. It employed about 930 at its height and fell on hard times and closed in 1986.
Environmental Cleansing expects to spend about $200,000 for demolition and $400,000 on construction and $150,000 to build the rail spur.
The property was formerly owned by the scandal-plagued Gary Urban Enterprise Association and was one of the largest in its portfolio.
A settlement with the state and federal governments calls for proceeds of the sale to go to the Indiana University Foundation for endowed scholarships for students from the Emerson neighborhood to attend Indiana University Northwest in Gary.