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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

QUICKEN LOANS ARENA - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

QUICKEN LOANS ARENA, originally named Gund Arena at 100 Gateway Plaza, opened in 1994 as part of the new Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex intended to revitalize downtown Cleveland, sharing the site with JACOBS FIELD baseball park. Gund Arena and Jacobs Field were the first sports facilities in the United States to be constructed simultaneously at the same location. Gund served as home to the National Basketball Association's CLEVELAND CAVALIERS, the Women's National Basketball Association's CLEVELAND ROCKERS, the American Hockey League's CLEVELAND BARONS, the Arena Football League's CLEVELAND GLADIATORS and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Men's & Women's Championship Tournaments, in addition to other sports and entertainment events. In 2005 the founder of the mortgage company Quicken Loans, Dan Gilbert, purchased the Cavaliers and the naming rights to Gund Arena for $375 million.

In the winter of 1984-5, business and civic leaders met to develop plans for a new sports facility after failure of a bid for Cuyahoga taxpayer funding of a new domed stadium in Cleveland's downtown. CLEVELAND TOMORROW, an organization comprised of top executives from Cleveland's 50 largest companies, created a development fund to help launch the project, and aquisition of property began in December 1985. Sports teams agreed to design objectives in April 1986 and demolition of the site began in June 1987. In May 1990 county voters passed a 15-year sin tax on alcohol and cigarettes to help finance the complex. The tax involved various surcharges, such as 1.9 cents on a can of beer and 4.5 cents on a pack of cigarettes. The next month MAYOR MICHAEL WHITE and County Commissioner Tim Hagan created the GATEWAY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORP., a non-profit organization, to adminster the project, marking it formally as a public-private partnership. Gordon Gund, principal owner of the Cavaliers and of the Coliseum in Richfield signed a 30-year lease with Gateway for the use of the new arena and groundbreaking for the facility took place in April 1992. Gund Arena opened on October 17, 1994, with a Billy Joel concert. The Cavaliers played their first game in Gund Arena on October 21, 1994.

Designers at Ellerbe Becket and ROBERT P. MADISON INTERNATIONAL, sought to give the Gund Arena a uniquely Cleveland style. The facility boasted a large 108 x 48 bay window which provided insiders a dramatic view of Cleveland's Industrial FLATS and advertised to outsiders action inside the building. Gateway was the first sports facility in the country to display a significant collection of public art, including "Meet Me Here," a seating element near Gund Arena's front entrance and "Who's On, First?" near Jacobs Field, both by artist Nancy Dwyer, and a ceramic tile bench near Gund, by Angelica Pozo and Penny Rakoff, suggesting the history of the Gateway site through photos and other archival materials. Indoors, special visual features included "ArenaVision," a four-sided, center-hung scoreboard displaying instant replay and game action and four corner-hung "Fanimation" boards, providing animation, stats, and messages. The facility also included 562 television monitors, 92 suites, Gordon's Sports Bar, a practice basketball court, and CAVSTOWN, a 2,500 square foot team shop. Seating capacity was 20,500. Between 1994 and 2007, the Quicken Loans Arena reached single-game attendance records of 20,562 on 148 occasions.

Last Modified: 12 Sep 2008 01:06:18 AM

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