East bank of Flats in Cleveland on schedule for June completion

CLEVELAND - Joe Magamja prefers to take his daily hike from the federal courthouse on Huron Avenue through the prosperous business Warehouse District between Cleveland's West 9th Street and West 3rd.

Magamja has been venturing by the bustling construction site of the new Ernst & Young building rapidly being built each day as he passes under the Main Avenue Bridge.

"I enjoy walking at lunchtime every day to get some exercise and one of my walks is to the east bank of the Flats. And it looked pretty damn depressing for a long, long time, so it's nice to see something going in and, I guess, they're going to open up a park down to the water so you can get some access to it. Maybe it will bring in some other action as well, it's pretty cool," Magamja said.

Flats Development Group's owner representative Harley Cohen said the group has exceeded the job requirements asked of them by the city of Cleveland.

"We probably have over 500,000 man hours into this project. Probably closer to 600,000," Cohen said.

"Besides the man hours, what I think is probably most significant is the number of man hours that we've met, meeting the city of Cleveland requirements for low income, city of Cleveland residents, minorities and female personnel. We've exceeded all of the goals that were put forth to us by the city of Cleveland, which I think is an incredible testament to the ownership of this facility."

After months of hoping his labor union, Local 310, would call with good news of a job to help support his child, Chris Turner was on his way up to the 17th floor for his first day on the job. A 23-veteran of Local 310, Turner had a smile rivaling the Cuyahoga River Tuesday.

"It's great to have a job. Actually, today is my first day so I'm a little excited," Turner said. "I was laid off for quite some time. I happen to just get lucky, today was just my number. My number got pulled, so like I said I'm happy to be down here."

Carpenter Dan Quigley got the call for his Local 373, as well. Quigley grew up not far away from his job site, constructing steel studs for walls inside many of the Ernst & Young's new floors.

"The attitude's great in there. A lot of people aren't aware that there are different pay scales for different cities and Cleveland's the highest pay scale so they're really happy in there that this is going on down here," Quigley said.

Cohen said current project, Phase 1, is on schedule and the building will open its doors June 10.

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