NBA basketball team the Cleveland Cavaliers will press ahead with plans to redevelop the Quicken Loans Arena – just days after the project looked doomed.
The team announced last week that it had scrapped plans for the renovation amid opposition from community groups, but the project is now back on track.
Last Thursday, critics withdrew petitions that would have required a referendum on the city of Cleveland’s financial contribution to the project.
Such a referendum would have resulted in the renovation missing the current construction cycle, which in turn would have increased the overall price tag.
However, because no referendum now needs to be held, the team is free to press ahead with the work.
Cavaliers chief executive Len Komoroski said: “We are excited to confirm our renewed capital commitment of over $70m to help renovate and transform Quicken Loans Arena – a tremendous publicly-owned asset for our community.”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson added: “Throughout the process, my support for this agreement never wavered.
“My efforts have always been to create vibrant neighbourhoods and a vibrant downtown. I’ve said it before – this deal is one of the best I’ve seen because it provides opportunities for all of Cleveland. Those who demonised this process were shortsighted, and I encourage them to ask themselves what they can do for the future of this city. Strong leadership requires doing the right thing, not just saying what you think people want to hear.”
The planned development work could put the arena back in contention to stage the NBA All-Star game in 2020 or 2021.
The Cavaliers will extend their lease from 2027 to 2034 under the terms of the project, which had been due to get underway in June.
The team has played at ‘The Q’ since 1994.
Image: Erik Drost