City Leaders Celebrate Flats East Bank Project

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In another sign that Cleveland's birthplace, the east bank of the Flats, is coming back to life, city leaders, developers and business partners celebrated the latest phase of the project Wednesday.

A topping-off ceremony took place at the site just north of St. Clair Avenue and West 9th Street. The final steel beam of a 23-story state of the art office building was signed, christened then hoisted into place.

This is the first formal celebration of the work and progress being done since the groundbreaking of this project seven years ago.  The 2008 economic crisis prevented the lakefront project from moving forward, devastating commercial real estate not only here in Cleveland, but nationwide.

The Flats East Bank Development team pressed forward to keep this 500-million dollar project alive.  Developer Scott Wolstein said, "This was a very difficult ordeal through very difficult financial circumstances, and we're very, very pleased we were able to bring this project to fruition."

Phase one of this project includes a 500-thousand square foot state of the art office tower, restaurants and entertainment venues set to open Spring 2013. Wolstein said the project will change the face of Cleveland. 

“Four of my children will be here today, and it is somewhat symbolic because we want Cleveland to be a place where young people want to live, and I can assure you that this project will be a place where young professionals can live, work and play, and it will be competitive with any mixed use urban project in the United States, and maybe in the world,” he said.

Phase two will feature residential units along the water and additional retail and restaurants.

-- Fox 8 Anchor Lou Maglio contributed to this report.