The transformation of the Q has begun. City crews were cutting and grinding a row of trees along Ontario avenue to make space. The real construction zone will be along the north side of the arena on Huron.
Construction crews will reduce Huron Road from five lanes to two on Monday, Feb. 5th, to begin the two-year project.
“The reality is we have this tremendous amount of work happening," explained Cavaliers' senior vice pPresident for facility operations, Antony Bonavita, "for both above ground and below ground."
The $140 million project will expand the walls of the arena outward to greatly enlarge the concourse area of the facility so fans have a place to sit and socialize. The new glass walls will need some room to maneuver.
"We have 500 feet of glass and steel that needs to be erected," noted Bonavita. "Sixty feet tall. So in order to ... to stand it up you need some space. So we're going to have to get the lay-down area and the cranes and everything in a space where we can pick it up safely and get it where it needs to go."
The Q will continue to host the Cavs, and the Lake Erie Monsters but the Gladiators arena football team will shut down for two years. Music concerts will continue only until playoffs are over in the Summer. Then, said Bonavita, it’s full-time construction.
“To our friends at the Indians: Enjoy the next two summers. We’ll actually be alleviating traffic for you because we won’t be having a concert or anything during a big series with the Yankees or Boston.”
Bonavita said Feb. 5th is a good time to start because the Cavaliers only play at home on the 7th and then are out of town for two weeks. And the late game (8 p.m.) on the 7th will likely lessen traffic congestion on that first try.
"We expect to get tons of feedback."
Cavs CEO Len Komoroski said Gateway Plaza should remain mostly open and the construction zone on Huron may shrink.
"Hopefully within a year we'll be able to start pulling back on that construction zone itself. This is as significant as it will get."
Komoroski said the arena's eastern wall along Sixth Street can expand on a large sidewalk with little effect on the street.
To ease congestion, the arena doors will open 30 minutes earlier than usual for both Cavs and Monsters games.