CLEVELAND - The Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) announced on Thursday that it has reached an agreement to withdraw its petitions challenging the Quicken Loans Arena transformation project.
The GCC's petition withdrawal could potentially pave the way for the Cleveland Cavaliers to resurrect their previous agreement with Cuyahoga County for a $140 million renovation to Quicken Loans Arena.
"Today, Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) has reached an agreement that will benefit both downtown and Cleveland’s neighborhoods, and has agreed to withdraw petitions challenging the Quicken Loans Arena deal," the GCC said in a statement.
The withdrawal became official this afternoon with a signed letter sent to City Hall. Those signing the document say they are no longer calling for a referendum on the issue.
The Cavs and team owner Dan Gilbert had withdrawn their participation in the deal on Monday, citing delays stemming from the petitions making renovations to Quicken Loans Arena unfeasible. The Cavs' decision to void the deal came 18 days after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the deal must head to a public vote, after the GCC led a petition drive to force a referendum on the deal.
In its statement, GCC stated that it chose to withdraw its petitions against the Q deal after Cuyahoga County showed a commitment to researching the costs and best practices associated with building a pair of mental health and substance abuse crisis centers, which GCC said it "has sought throughout its current campaign."
In its original form, the Q deal would have seen the Cavs commit $70 million to the $140 million renovation, with public funding, largely via an admissions tax on tickets sold to all Quicken Loans Arena events, accounting for the other $70 million. It also would have extended the Cavs' lease in Cleveland from 2027 to 2034 and would have potentially brought the 2020 or 2021 NBA All-Star Game to Cleveland if construction started on time.
"We are encouraged by this new development related to the private-public partnership plan to transform The Q for the long term," Len Komoroski, CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena organization said. "We are reviewing the impact of this change and discussing it further with the County, the City and others."
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