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The Worst of Cleveland: The Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, nee Quicken Loans Arena


You have probably already — and will undoubtedly in the future — enter into a conversation with someone who compliments the extensive renovations of Quicken Loans Arena. Check out that glass! It reflects the city skyline! Glass! Skyline!

It will, to them and possibly you, represent banner cooperation between that local demigod Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers, the city and the county. It will be a shiny new building — and dear god, do we love shiny new buildings, and not thinking about how they got there. The millions of taxpayer dollars that subsidized the renovation? Worth it, because Dan Gilbert spends money on payroll. Plus, the public owns the building anyway. It should have to pay for its upkeep.

We've done our level best over the past two years to bring much needed clarity to the reasons why those arguments are baseless. Often, that reasoning has fallen on deaf ears. But for us and those who have taken the time to actually learn about the deal, the glittering façade and introduction of something called the South Neighborhood, among other uplifts, are a totem not of how Cleveland has succeeded but of how it has once again failed. How deals exactly like this one are hatched in secret with no public input. How the corridors of power aligned to squash a ballot initiative that dared ask whether it was in the region's best interest to hand over tens of millions of dollars that would better be allocated elsewhere. How thoroughly and blindly the city and the county display absolute fealty to the business community.

Gilbert and others say that there's no official nickname for the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse as of yet, that something will occur naturally — the Rock, for instance, much like Quicken Loans Arena became simply known as The Q.

Here let us suggest an appropriate moniker: The Rock Bottom Fraudhouse.

— Vince Grzegorek

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