Courtesy: Cleveland Cavaliers
The Quicken Loans Arena renovation deal is officially dead.
Even as they pulled out of the deal — a complex four-party financial arrangement negotiated in private with regional leaders — the Cleveland Cavaliers touted its merits, casting blame upon local organizations and disdaining Clevelanders who dared intervene.
The deal would have "significantly upgraded one of the oldest arenas in the NBA," a press release lamented
. It would have made the Q "more competitive for the long term." It would have "created over 2,500 project-related construction jobs, grown The Q’s permanent job base to 3,200, increased tax revenue to the City’s General Fund and neighborhoods, extended the Cavaliers lease for The Q to 2034, rehabbed 40 gym courts and floors in the city of Cleveland’s rec centers and all Cleveland Metropolitan School Districts high schools." And of course, it would have "brought an NBA All-Star Game to Cleveland in 2020 or 2021 along with its $100 million+ economic impact."
These bullet points were breathlessly anthologized in the angry release whose central purpose was blaming a voter-led referendum effort on the deal's collapse.
The project's architects had hoped that construction would begin in June, but the project was delayed, per the release, "due to a prospective referendum being placed on the ballot by the Washington, DC-based Metro Industrial Areas Foundation represented locally by a group calling themselves the “Greater Cleveland Congregations” (GCC), Service Employees International Union District 1199 and the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus."
The release went on to celebrate the economic benefits of the Q and thank the civic leaders for supporting the deal.
"Civic and community support for the project was earned by the public-friendly, private and self-generating funding source structure being an efficient, significantly less costly and beneficial way to extend the life of a core public asset for the long term," the release said. "The Cavaliers organization will no longer participate in the partnership formed for The Q Transformation project and the need for a referendum no longer exists."
Armond Budish released a statement as well mourning the deal's demise and denigrating opponents.
"Contrary to misinformation put out by the opposition," Budish claimed, citing nothing, "the death of this deal actually means there will be less money, not more, available for social and community services. By killing this deal, the opponents have harmed the future for our neighborhood residents."