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Gateway to minority contracts.

Minorities are a major part of Cleveland's $362 million Gateway Project - the construction of a 42,000-seat baseball park, 21,000-seat basketball arena and specialevents plaza scheduled to open in 1994. Since 1991, over $63 million in contracts have been awarded to minority firms.

Gateway, a private, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1990 to build the sports facility. When complete, the 28-acre downtown location will be home to the Cleveland Indians baseball team and the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. It is expected to attract 2 million new visitors to Cleveland annually, spurring much-needed economic growth.

"Our goal is 30% minority-owned and 10% woman-owned participation," says Gateway spokesperson Lora Thompson.

The $63 million won last year by minority firms represents 27% of $235 million in total contracts awarded, ranging from preliminary architectural surveys to construction management and contractor work. Women-owned firms won $27 million.

In addition, a healthy 22.6% of all workers on the project are unionized minority construction workers. "There's no other project, public or private, that has been as aggressive in hiring minorities and women," says Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White.

Several black-owned firms have benefited. ColeJon Corp. has a $3 million contract to construct the heating and air-conditioning systems for the basketball arena, says Chairman Lonzo Coleman. He expects his construction firm's 1992 revenues of $10 million to grow by 50% in 1993.

Iris Anderson, president of IEA Electric Corp., has been awarded the largest minority contract thus far. In addition to a $200,000 construction management contract, her firm will receive $8.9 million as part of a joint venture with majority-owned Doan Electric Co. to wire the entire electrical system of the arena.

Anderson sa s Gateway was crucial for her 3-year-old firm. "In 1991, we did $1.2 million worth of business," she explains. "I didn't see a lot of new construction coming along that would allow us to do the same volume in 1992 or 1993. Gateway was an opportunity to survive."

Howard Bradley, president of Bradley Construction Inc., says Gateway allows him to expand his business. His company will pour concrete for the baseball park for an estimated $2.5 million and has a $550,000 construction management contract with the arena. "This gives me an opportunity to do some private work," says Bradley, who gets about 95% of his business from the public sector.

Choice Construction, an 8-year-old asphalt and concrete business, has a $500,000 construction management contract with Turner Construction Corp. Company President Gail Perkins says, "This gives us the opportunity to grow and broaden our horizons." Her firm, which had $3 million in revenues last year, is expecting a larger contract this year.
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Title Annotation:Cleveland, Ohio, Gateway Project
Author:Sherrod, Pamela Ann
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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