Quicken Loans Arena may be months away from the conclusion of its renovation, but the recent debut of an amenity by the Cleveland Cavaliers showcased what is to come.
Last week, the Cavaliers unveiled a new Brewery-Style concession stand from the Cleveland-based Saucy Brew Works. The 1,500-square-foot space fits into a few arena renovation trends: It adds a product (in this case beer) from a local entity to the venue’s food and beverage lineup, while providing an area for event attendees to gather in a social setting.
More significantly, it reflects one of the true intentions of the Quicken Loans Arena renovation project. A key component of this overhaul is to provide more gathering spaces around the arena, and a new area dubbed South Neighborhood is one of the pieces of that plan. Adding a total of 6,350 square feet to the main concourse, South Neighborhood will feature several unique concession options in addition to the Saucy Brew Works space, including offerings from local chefs Jonathan Sawyer of the Greenhouse Tavern and Karen Small of Flying Fig that will debut in March.
As they continue with the renovation, Cavaliers officials see the addition of South Neighborhood and its offerings as a shakeup to Quicken Loans Arena’s concessions and in turn a way to offer a new fan experience. More from Crain’s Cleveland Business:
“We have destinations, neighborhoods throughout,” Cavs CEO Len Komoroski said. “This (the Saucy spot) is really emblematic of what we’re going to have throughout the building. We had a great bowl and we had poor public space. Now we have great public space to go along with a great viewing experience in the bowl.”
The Q, prior to its $185 million renovation, was “B Spot or bust,” Komoroski said. That’s no longer the case, since the two-year project, which will be completed prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, will be adding 42,530 square feet of public space.
(And the B Spot, located in Section 125, is being enhanced, too.)
“Neighborhoods are anchored really by food and beverage,” Komoroski said. “A place like this without a brewpub would be like a black eye. A great partner like Saucy, who has really taken the scene by storm here, is bringing this to life. It’s activation of these great spaces with great food and beverage. As opposed to walking up to a FanFare concession stand, which is just like, ‘OK.’ Nothing against that. We’ll have those concession opportunities, but we’ll have these neighborhoods all throughout the building where people can do just this.
South Neighborhood should be a fitting addition to the arena landscape, as design trends have increasingly emphasized food and beverage offerings in a social atmosphere. It is a break from the traditional concession stand that caters to modern fan expectations of being able to socialize with others in common space, and blends that will local food and drink options.
While South Neighborhood is a major piece of the Quicken Loans Arena renovation, there is still plenty of work to be done at the facility. Some features—such as a new glass façade along the arena’s north end, which be completed in April—will be in place before this season ends, but the facility is slated to close over the summer months to accommodate the final round of renovations.