CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers have scrapped plans for a $140 million renovation of Quicken Loans Arena.
The team had hoped to upgrade the 22-year-old downtown facility with more dining spaces and a glass exterior. However, following opposition from community groups opposed to tax money being used, the NBA franchise has backed away from the project.
Construction had been scheduled to start in June but was held up by a prospective referendum being placed on the ballot by groups arguing that the city's neighborhoods weren't benefiting from the arena's makeover.
The Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, which had been leading the fight to stop the renovation, said in a statement it was "very pleased" with the Cavs' decision.
"Despite their stated reason for the cancellation, the real reason is that the citizens of Cleveland spoke loud and clear in their opposition to the project by gathering 13,000 valid signatures to force a referendum on the issue," the group said. "The Cavaliers, Mayor Jackson and Cleveland City Council all know that the project would have been soundly defeated at the ballot box. This is their way of saving face."
The Cavs had argued the arena was overdue for a face-lift and that the remodeling would help attract major concert acts and other events. The Q, as it is known locally, hosted the Republican National Convention in 2016.
The team also said the project would create over 2,500 construction jobs, increase the arena's job base to 3,200 and increase tax revenues for the city and other neighborhoods.
The Cavaliers were planning to fund half the project, with the other $70 million coming from public funding.
The team had hoped to host a future All-Star Game, and the league had warned that if construction didn't start by next month, the bid wouldn't be considered.
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