Construction began in renovations to Quicken Loans Arena Thursday. If it had started any later though, Cleveland would’ve been knocked out of the running to host the 2020 or 2021 All-Star Game.
“There’s too much riding on this for us to fail,” said Cleveland City Council President, Kevin Kelley.
Arguably, one of the most outspoken supporters of the Q transformation project, Kelley shared with News 5 why he was in such a rush to get the renovation started.
“We don’t have any choice but to go forward and get this done. We are under the gun to complete this and we’re under the gun to make this successful, make it be the project it was promised to be,” he said.
An NBA All Star Game and an estimated $100 million impact to Cleveland that would come with it, was taken off the table when the renovation was halted. A debate wound up forcing the Cavs to pull their financial commitment to the project. The debate though ended and the team ultimately recommitted.
The NBA made it crystal clear they needed a new arena for their All Star weekend, penning a letter to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission who’d fought to get the All Star Game, letting them know, they wouldn't even consider Cleveland if construction didn't begin on or before September 15th.
Even explaining that Cleveland’s hold up in construction of the new $140 million Q was delaying the entire process of the NBA picking a host city for one of their largest spectacles.
“The NBA’s not begging Cleveland to get this. There’s 29 other cities that want this, so we have to really work hard and give the NBA a level of confidence that we can get this project done and we can host the best All Star Weekend they’ve ever had,” said Kelley.
In just the nick of time, cranes and construction equipment appeared outside the Q Thursday, solidifying Cleveland as a top contender to host the NBA’s 2020 or 2021 All Star Game.
“Keep on winning, we’re going to keep on improving our assets and we’re going to keep moving the city of Cleveland forward,” said Kelley.
The NBA has not specified exactly when they’ll select an All Star host city. Kelley and other city officials though want the 2020 game because in 2019, the MLB will be hosting their All Star Game across the street at Progressive Field.