(Photo by Photo Jason Miller / Stringer)
(CLEVELAND) - Hours after Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert tweeted that he will never move the team out of Cleveland, it appears the deal to renovate Quicken Loans Arena will move forward in some form. Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley's office released the following statement:
A majority of the committee of petitioners delivered a letter to Council Clerk Patricia Britt this afternoon stating that they “hereby withdraw the petition to hold a referendum on Ordinance 305-17.”
Clerk Britt was to certify the petition at the next regular council meeting on Sept. 18. That no longer is necessary. Under state law, the signatures collected for this referendum cannot be resubmitted.
Ordinance 305-17, the legislation that authorizes the City of Cleveland’s participation in the Q Transformation project, is still in effect.
“I am hopeful that the Cavaliers are willing to reconsider their withdrawal from the deal,” said Council President Kevin J. Kelley. “And I am hopeful that our community will realize all of the benefits that this project will bring to our community in jobs, economic vitality, and dollars to our neighborhoods.”
Kelley told WTAM he spoke with the Cavs organization and felt confident that the deal would move forward, however, he's not sure if Cleveland will still be eligible for the 2019 or 2020 NBA All Star Game. "I'm hopeful that the Cavaliers will try to get that back," said Kelley. "It's a tough one, because that September 15th date was real, and it's very competitive for cities to get that." Kelley was referring to the deadline after which the NBA will no-longer consider Cleveland's application to host the game. The deadline was predicated on construction being underway on the $140 million Quicken Loans renovation project.
Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski told WTAM "we are very encouraged by this new development related to the private-public partnership plan to transform The Q for the long term. We are reviewing the impact of this change and discussing it further with the County, the City and others."