Obviously, this all started long before LeBron let the world know he is leaving his hometown for LA (personally, we think he is going to focus more on his movie making and production business than basketball; but, that’s just us).
Let’s start with a little information about the Gateway Sports Complex. It is made up of the Cleveland Indians Progressive Field and the Cleveland Cavaliers Quicken Loans Arena (or “The Q” as locals call it). The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County own the sports complex, and it is managed by the Gateway Economic Development Corporation, a non-profit group with board members who are appointed by county and city leaders. Along with the ballpark and basketball arena, the sports complex has many renters. And, when you are a renter in the sports complex and you feel like your space needs major improvements, you turn to the landlord… which in this case is us, the taxpayers.
I recently saw Zack Yohman, the Corporate Communications Manager for the Cavs, discuss why the improvements were needed and how the finished product will look when The Q reopens to the public this fall after a $140M transformation.
A few key notes…
- The Q is now 22 years old and needs a facelift (they were only in their previous home, the Richfield Coliseum, for 20 years before they moved downtown)
- The Q hosts 200 events a year with more than 2 million guests
- It is the 11th busiest concert venue in the United States
- This project does not require new taxes – $70M comes from public monies (admissions and hotel bed taxes) paired with $70M from private monies
Zack shared that The Q has long felt its “front door” (corner of Huron & Ontario Streets) is not as connected to the City of Cleveland as it could be. And if you’ve been to The Q in the middle of a cold winter night, you get what he is saying. Long lines often formed outside in the chilly air as the metal detectors were placed immediately inside the entrance doors, which didn’t allow fans to get inside during a downpour or snowstorm. The renovations will also include improved pre- and post-event spaces, have better wayfinding signs, and eliminate crowded lobbies and corridors.
The entire side of The Q that faces Huron will be a lighted wall that will change colors and make a statement. And, The Q is adding 45,000 SF to the front of the arena for event space. It will feel like a whole new building!
The renovations will include the addition of “neighborhood” zones on each concourse. The food choices will be similar to Progressive Field so dinner and snack choices will improve greatly. The Wine & Gold Club (Cavs’ fan club) will have a new space within the infamous Loudville on the 5th level.
One of the ultimate goals is to have a space that can compete with other cities to land the NBA All Star Game (we’ve been passed over many times). The Q will reopen this fall… just in time for the Justin Timberlake concert.
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