Final steel beam is now in place at the "Q"

Q Topping Off Ceremony

(Cleveland) - Construction at Quicken Loans Arena in reached a new milestone today. 

Crews raised the final beam on the $185-million project this afternoon, about a year after the renovations started. 

A ceremony was held with local leaders, construction workers, and downtowners attending a free lunch, with streamers and fireworks. 

All parties say the work remains on schedule. Cleveland split to cost for the upgrades with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, after funding controversies nearly tabled the project. 

Joining Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, Cuyahoga County Council Vice President Pernel Jones, and Cavaliers & Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski, were invited guests and project workers who gathered to sign the 21-foot, 650 pound beam before watching it being raised to its permanent position above The Q.

In keeping with the topping off tradition, in addition to an evergreen tree and an American flag, flags representing the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, along with flags representing the Iron Workers Union Local #17, Forest City Erectors, Whiting-Turner, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Monsters were placed on the beam.

Q Topping Off Ceremony

“As the final beam is raised on the Q Transformation project, I want to recognize the Cleveland Cavaliers for their commitment to the citizens of Cleveland. Through the financial, economic and community benefits the people of Cleveland gained through this project, the project continues to be a valuable investment in our city’s neighborhoods and our future,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

“This topping off is a great milestone for this important project. Our investment in The Q is an investment in the future of this community,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “The Q is one of the key economic drivers of our county, bringing millions of fans to hundreds of events. These are people who then spend money in our restaurants and bars and in our shops. Add to that the almost 1,500 construction jobs that have been created by this transformation and this is a project we can all be proud of.”

As of December 2018, 1,457 union tradesmen and women that represent 24 local unions have clocked 173,868 hours on The Q Transformation job site. The Cavaliers are also proud to report that The Q Transformation minority, female and small business and workforce inclusion efforts continue to exceed the project goals pursuant to the City of Cleveland’s Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), endorsed by the County, and adopted in resolution by Gateway Economic Development Corp.

Q Topping Off Ceremony

Highlights as of December 2018:

  • 54% of the workforce resided in Cuyahoga County, exceeding the project’s County workforce participation Community Benefits Agreement (C.B.A.) goal of 25%.
  • 24% of the workforce resided in Cleveland, exceeding the project’s City C.B.A.’s goal of 20%.
  • The Minority Business Enterprise workforce participation level of 25% exceeds the C.B.A.’s goal of 16%.
  • The Female Business Enterprise workforce participation level of 6% also exceeds the C.B.A.’s goal of 5%.
  • The percentage of total construction contract dollars awarded thus far with minority, female and small business enterprise diversity is 59%.
Q Topping Off Ceremony

“From the onset, our goal was to ensure that we provided opportunities for a local and diverse group of subcontractors, vendors, tradesmen and women to be a part of this major community project. Being able to exceed the project’s goals thus far is part of this milestone celebration today and something all of us can be very proud of,” said Cavs and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski. “We also want to commend and thank our general contractor, Whiting-Turner, for their partnership and commitment towards our diversity and inclusion efforts. We will continue to make that commitment a top priority as the project heads towards the finish line later this year.”

The topping off culminates almost a year of structural steel work on the project, which began in February 2018. More than 4,750 pieces of steel equivalent to 1,229 tons, have been installed to form the frame of the arena’s new north atrium and south entrance.

The dramatic new street-facing exterior glass façade and north atrium that will add 42,530 square feet of new public space to The Q is taking shape. When complete, 77,110 square feet of exterior glass curtain wall made up of 1,475 pieces of glass will have been installed.

Q Topping Off Ceremony

Work on the south side of the arena is near completion, adding 6,350 square feet to provide a more expansive and modernized Discount Drug Mart South Entrance along with the new “South Neighborhood,” a social gathering spot featuring a great lineup of new food and beverage offerings. Scheduled to be the first to open in mid-February is the new Saucy Brew Works Pub, and soon thereafter, two exciting food concepts from local chefs Jonathan Sawyer of the Greenhouse Tavern and Karen Small of the Flying Fig.

The Q Transformation is a private/public partnership between the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the Cavaliers that will modernize the venue to maintain its world-class status and remain a cornerstone for the continued growth and momentum of a city and region on the rise. Since the arena opened in 1994 in the Gateway District, it has been a core catalytic part of the over $1 billion in development in the downtown neighborhood that has become a vibrant live, work and play destination.

The transformation project’s total investment scope has grown to $185 million from its original $140 million 50-50 private/public funding agreement. When Cavaliers Chairman Dan Gilbert and the Cavs organization committed an additional $45 million of private funding towards additional updates and improvements to The Q, it raised the team’s current private funding commitment from $70 million to $115 million. The Cavaliers’ portion of the funding covers all non-public, club, suite, team, premium space, AV/LED, lighting and multi-media upgrades, as well as a significant portion of the public space updates, which includes concourse improvements and square footage increases.

The Q closed for the summer of 2018 to begin renovation work on the interior of the building that included the suite level, five membership spaces and the Cavaliers and Monsters locker rooms, which were completed when the arena re-opened in October.

As work continues on the exterior and interior of The Q throughout the Cavaliers 2018-19 season, the arena will close again for the summer of 2019 to complete the transformation. The newly renovated arena will re-open for the start of the Cavaliers, Monsters and entertainment season in October 2019.

(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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