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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced that the $140 million transformation of Quicken Loans Arena is a go.
The announcement Wednesday comes a little more than a week after Cavs CEO Len Komoroski said the organization was withdrawing from the project.
The project was revived last week after critics withdrew petitions that would have required a referendum on Cleveland's contribution to the transformation.
The Cavs said then they would reconsider the decision to pull out of the deal to renovate Quicken Loans Arena since construction delays that would have occurred due to a required vote on the referendum were no longer an issue.
"We are excited to confirm our renewed capital commitment of over $70 million to help renovate and transform Quicken Loans Arena - a tremendous publicly-owned asset for our community," Komoroski said Wednesday.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish issued statements of support.
Jackson said: "Throughout the process, my support for this agreement never wavered," Jackson said. 'My efforts have always been to create vibrant neighborhoods 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."
Budish said: "We're excited the transformation project is back on track and we're looking forward to the energy and positive impact this important economic project will bring to the region."
If construction begins by mid-September, the Cavs may salvage the opportunity to host the NBA All-Star game in 2020 or 2021. The Cavs said that issue is still to be determined.
Greater Cleveland Congregations, which led the referendum drive and sought a dollar-for-dollar match of the $140 million for neighborhood investments, agreed to the withdrawal of the petitions due to the county's commitment to mental health and substance abuse crisis centers.
The deal that was reached last December to transform the 22-year-old arena apparently remains the same.
The Cavs will extend their lease from 2027 to 2034. The team also pledged to rehab basketball floors in all of the city of Cleveland's rec centers and all of the Cleveland school district's high schools. That pledge would have involved about 40 gymnasiums.
The financing plan, which includes annual debt interest of $9 million, includes a reserve fund for professional sports facilities.
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