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Practice facility in plans + Cavs planning facility in Independence

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Cavaliers report
Practice facility in plans
Independence site of new $20M building

Associated Press

CLEVELAND - The Cavaliers are moving to the suburbs.

LeBron James and his teammates will continue to play their games downtown, but they plan to practice in a new $20 million facility in Independence beginning with the 2007-08 season.

A deal announced Monday would give Cleveland and Independence a 50-50 split of the millions of dollars in income tax generated by the players.

Cleveland will lose some tax dollars because of the move, but not as much as it would have without the agreement with Independence. Both city councils must approve the deal.

The Cavaliers practice at Quicken Loans Arena downtown, where they play their games. The Cavaliers share the arena with other teams and events and want a facility of their own, Cavaliers CEO Mark Stornes said.

The organization is seeking player input on what the facility will look like and what amenities it will have.
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Cavs planning practice facility in Independence

Cavs planning practice facility in Independence

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Joseph L. Wagner
Plain Dealer Reporter

The Cavaliers want to build a $20 million practice facility in Independence as part of a revolutionary agreement that calls for the suburb to share the income tax with Cleveland.

The deal would mean at least $750,000 annually in income and property taxes for Independence and roughly $375,000 in income taxes for Cleveland.

If approved by both city councils, the state-of- the-art facility could be ready for summer practice before the 2007-08 season, Mark Stornes, chief executive officer of Quicken Loans Arena, said Monday.

The Cavs now practice at The Q. Stornes said the move to Independence is no slight to Cleveland.

"We're very bullish on the city of Cleveland," he said. But the Cavaliers need a central practice site, with easy access to the airport and downtown, for players and staff who live throughout Northeast Ohio, Stornes said.

Strongsville, Valley View and Brecksville were also considered, officials said.

Cleveland City Council President Martin J. Sweeney said the tax-sharing legislation was scheduled to be introduced Monday night. He said he liked the concept of regional cooperation.

But Sweeney added that he could not say whether the plan would pass until council members saw the details.

At least one member was not pleased.

"I'm extremely disappointed" in the Cavaliers, Councilman Mike Polensek said. "It's a slap in our face in light of what this city did for the Gateway project and for the Cavaliers and the Gund family to move the Cavaliers back to the city."

Polensek said Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have devoted nearly a half-billion dollars in public subsidies to the Cavs.

But Polensek also realized that Cleveland could have lost out on the income tax altogether.

"I guess half is better than none," he said.

Stornes said the new practice facility would help the Cavaliers develop the championship culture the team seeks. A comfortable training facility will impress prospective players, he said.

Flanking Stornes at a news conference were Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Independence Mayor Fred Ramos, who were long on praise of regional cooperation but short on financial details.

"We have to really, really start working together," Ramos said. "If we think whatever is happening next door doesn't matter, we're in for a rude awakening."

The agreement calls for the two cities to evenly split income tax paid by Cavaliers players. Ra mos confirmed later that the income tax could total $750,000 to $1 million annually.

Additionally, Independence expects $350,000 in real estate taxes, with a little over half going to the schools.

Ramos said that the Cavaliers have asked for no property tax incentives to make the move and that he would not support anything like a tax abatement that would hurt the schools.

Stornes said the Cavaliers did not insist that the two cities share the revenue. He said it was obvious to him that both Jackson and Ramos were already talking about intergovernmental cooperation.

The idea was on the table from the beginning, Ramos said. He added that there was no pressure on him to share the taxes with Cleveland.

If Jackson was miffed about losing the Cavaliers practice facility, he did not show it during the news conference. He, too, hailed the deal as a model for regional cooperation.

"I've always been opposed to poaching, stealing from one another," Jackson said.
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Tax-sharing plan proposed

Tax-sharing plan proposed that will allow Cleveland and Independence to share income tax revenue as Cavaliers move practices to Independence

Cleveland, Ohio, March 27, 2006 – Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Independence Mayor Fred P. Ramos announced a plan today to split income tax revenue from the Cleveland Cavaliers payroll when the team begins practicing in Independence prior to the 2007-08 season. The announcement was made at a joint news conference in the Quicken Loans Arena with Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Mark Stornes.

Legislation will be introduced in both Cleveland and Independence that, when passed, will allow the cities to share revenue generated by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ payroll. The Cavs currently practice in the City of Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena, but plan to build a new facility in Independence.

Mayor Jackson, a long-time proponent of regional economic cooperation, says that this situation is a perfect example of how cities within the region can work together to boost the economy.

“We can and should encourage businesses to locate where it is in their best interest to do so, without stealing jobs and revenue from our neighbors,” said Mayor Jackson. “This revenue sharing strategy will allow the Cavs to build a new facility where it makes sense for them to do so and allow both Independence and Cleveland to reap the benefits. I thank Mayor Ramos for his efforts and willingness to work with the City of Cleveland, and the Cavaliers organization for their commitment to building success for Cleveland and the region.”

Mayor Ramos stated, "I applaud Mayor Jackson and his staff on initiating an early relationship built on trust and cooperation between our communities. We will work together, to the best of our abilities, on the Cavaliers project to benefit both our communities and the positive economic impact it will have on each. I also look forward to working with Mark Stornes and the Cavaliers organization to build and bring their practice facility to the City of Independence."

"The spirit of cooperation shown by Mayor Jackson and Mayor Ramos has been critical in placing the Cavaliers in a position to move forward with building the best practice facility in the NBA. They have been team players, while still representing their respective communities' interests well," said Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Mark Stornes. "The new Cavaliers practice facility will play a very important role in the continued development of the championship-caliber culture we are committed to having. We are thankful that Mayor Jackson and Mayor Ramos have been supportive in helping devise this win-win-win equation for Cleveland, Independence and the Cavaliers."

Both Cleveland City Council and Independence City Council will deliberate over the legislation. Mayor Jackson and Mayor Ramos are both optimistic that the legislation will pass and the revenue-sharing plan will move forward.
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The Plain Dealer

Home away from home court
If San Antonio's new practice facility is any indication, the Cavs' proposed training center in Independence will be more than a place to work out. It will be a place for the players to hang out with many creature comforts.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tom Breckenridge
Plain Dealer Reporter

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants to dispel the notion that his millionaire employees, LeBron James included, will be coddled at the team's new training facility.

But preliminary plans show -- and NBA trends suggest -- that the $20 million project in Independence will offer worlds more than courts, weights and whirlpools.

A parking bay for car washes, a chef's office and a gym with two full-length courts -- and up to six three-point baskets -- show that the Cavs desire a place where players can not only hone their skills, but enjoy creature comforts as well.

Gilbert and the ownership group "made a commitment to leave no stone unturned to build a championship-caliber team," said Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry.

The Cavs say the practice and training facilities at The Q, including a cramped practice court, are substandard.

"We are clearly behind," Gilbert said. "This will give us an opportunity to catch up and hopefully surpass what others have."

And make no mistake, the new facility will be focused on team and players. It will host few of the community-relations events that the Cavs hold now at The Q's training quarters. Suite holders, party groups and charities can arrange access to The Q's practice court, typically tied to game days, Cavs officials said.

The Cavs are following a trend. NBA teams are leaving downtown practice facilities for posh places in the suburbs where players feel more secure and are closer to their homes.

Impressive off-court facilities can lure high-priced free agents in an era in which salary caps have leveled the big-bucks competition for top stars.

In an interview, Gilbert, Ferry and Assistant General Manager Chris Grant declined to discuss project details.

But Ferry came to the Cavs from the San Antonio Spurs, which opened a stunning practice facility three years ago.

It features a movie theater with leather recliners; meeting rooms with oversize doors, flat-screen TVs and Internet connections; and a lounge with a pool table and video-game consoles.

Gilbert has already shown a penchant for player-pleasing quality. Before this season, the Cavs plowed some $13 million into The Q, including a locker room makeover.

The lockers are spacious, with maple paneling and stainless steel accents. Each locker has a 19-inch LCD television and a stereo.

The Q's practice and training facilities cover about 10,000 square feet, according to Gilbert. The Independence site, including office space, will be five times that size.

Ellerbe Becket, an architectural firm from Kansas City, Mo., is designing the project. The firm designed The Q and dozens of sports arenas and recreation centers nationwide.

Cavs officials visited a number of college and professional sites, including those of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles, in planning their state-of-the-art structure.

Plans show a spacious weight room, a cardio room and a hydrotherapy room. After workouts, the players could head for a steam or a sauna. A kitchen adjoining the players lounge would include a walk-in freezer.

What look to be amenities to the average Joe are the tools to building a better basketball team, Gilbert insisted.

"This is not a place for these guys to get pampered," Gilbert said. "They will not be getting manicures and haircuts."
Cavaliers shooting for best at Independence practice site

Monday, April 17, 2006

In a brushy, forested patch of Independence, just north of an old cemetery, the Cleveland Cavaliers want to practice like champions.

Fueled by millions from Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert, the frisky franchise is headed for the NBA playoffs and eager to spend even more -- an estimated $20 million -- for a practice venue that would be among the league's best.

A glassy, low-slung building planned for a tract northeast of Ohio 21 and Rockside Road would feature cutting-edge training and technology tailored to create a team that's stronger, smarter and more unified than its opponents. The Cavs want to christen the facility by summer 2007.

"It's a place to bond and do the real work," said Gilbert.

Details are still in flux. The Cavs don't yet own the 15- to 20-acre site, and they say drawings recently submitted to Independence officials will change over time. But it looks like Independence will host a high-end haven designed to quicken the Cavs' rise.
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