Mixed-use part of ‘Sixers’ planned arena


Philadelphia 76ers arena update August 2023 Image: 76 DEVCORP

The National Basketball Association (NBA) team Philadelphia 76ers released more renderings of the proposed Center City Philadelphia Arena (US) recently, as the City and the team leadership await the results of three ‘Sixers’-funded impact studies.

‘cbsnews.com’ stated that a news release from 76 Devcorp (Philadelphia 76ers’ development team) contained the latest renderings along with an announcement of more planned construction: A high-rise, mixed-use building that includes residential space right next to the arena.

76 Devcorp, the developer behind the project (which is owned by two 76ers Managing Partners), has voiced that the 76ers experience in the Wells Fargo Center has become inadequate. Citing what they believe as the City’s ability to host two large arenas and inadequate player training facilities at the Wells Fargo Center, the 76 Devcorp believes that a ground-up arena is the best solution.

The Philadelphia 76ers, colloquially known as the ‘Sixers’, is an American professional basketball team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The 76ers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and play at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylavania, US.

Philadelphia 76ers arena update August 2023Image: 76 DEVCORP

The 21,000-capacity Wells Fargo Center is a multipurpose indoor arena located in Philadelphia (US). It serves as the home of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

‘cbsnews.com’ further stated that the team’s news release says the building would contain about 395 units and 20 percent of them would be designated as “affordable housing”.

Said David Adelman, Chairman of 76 Devcorp, “Because we were always leading with the arena first, we wanted to design the best arena in the world, and then we figured, you know what, I think we can fit an apartment building there.”

Some of the renderings show the words ‘76 Tower’ atop the residential component of the arena.

Design Changes

The ‘Sixers’ are planning multiple community meetings for residents to hear about the latest proposed design for the arena and the addition of housing. All of the meetings will take place on Zoom between 6 pm and 8 pm.

August Meeting Schedule:

  • August 17th, 6-8 pm;
  • August 22nd, 6-8 pm (Mandarin-language meeting);
  • August 29th, 6-8 pm (Cantonese-language meeting); and
  • August 31st, 6-8 pm.

76 Devcorp stated, “Members of the public can expect to learn details related to design, transportation, economic impact, tax benefits, and more.”

Philadelphia 76ers arena update August 2023Image: 76 DEVCORP


Glass Façades

Glass façades would be used in multiple spots to keep the arena visually connected with the area, including a glass exterior for the walkway above 10th Street allowing for a view of the Chinatown (neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US).

The first floor of the arena building would have a public promenade where pedestrians could move between Cuthbert and Market Streets and a new front door on the Market Street for riders to access the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA’s) Jefferson Station.

The arena will also bring more digital signage to the Market Street.

The ‘Sixers’ also plan to raise the event floor to the second story – an attempt to alleviate concerns about the impact on the Jefferson Station. Adelman says the updates come from talks with communities around Market East.

Added Adelman, “You have no department stores left. You have boarded up retail on the South side of the street from 9th to 11th. It’s sad. So, I think people were like what can we do to bring things back?”

Up in Arms

The proposed arena has faced criticisms and opposition from Chinatown, which is located just North of the potential location on Market Street.

The Chinatown in Philadelphia is a bustling showcase of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean cultures and cuisines. Beyond the gilt-painted Friendship Gate are streets packed with restaurants and bars, including the famous speakeasy-style Hop Sing Laundromat. Eclectic shops sell items that range from hand-stretched noodles to colorful trinkets. The annual Chinese New Year celebrations feature lion dances and fireworks display.

76 Devcorp’s plans propose to build over part of the mall on the blocks between the Market Street and Arch Street between 10th Street and 11th Street. Philadelphia’s Chinatown begins on Arch Street, and continues North, away from the arena. The Chinatown survived a 2001 plan to destroy large parts of it for a baseball stadium, but still reels from the effects of the segregating Vine Street Expressway. Given how the development of an arena in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown has reaped the cultural destruction of the neighborhood, residents have due cause to be skeptic of the 76ers’ plan.

The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation came out against the proposed arena, saying in March that “the arena deeply imperils the future of Chinatown”.

Said Jenny Zhang of the Save Chinatown Coalition, “They’re pitching this arena under the guise of revitalization. But in reality, it’s predatory development. It is a land grab.”

Zhang and the Save Chinatown Coalition have fought the proposal for more than a year now. Zhang says even with these changes, she doesn’t trust the team leaders will actually come through.

Added Zhang, “There is a need for affordable housing, but we can’t trust these folks with what they’re saying. Like I said, they’ve made their careers off of displacement and helping to create the housing crisis.”

The ‘Sixers’ have argued that the potential new arena could have a major economic impact on the City and the Market East area, resulting in jobs for construction and even more opportunities for the residents of the City and the surrounding areas.

Right now, each camp of the proposed ‘Sixers’ arena believes they have the public on their side.

Continued Zhang, “Folks in the City know what’s going on, and they don’t like it, they don’t like this proposal.”

Concluded Alderman, “I think the public is getting excited as we continue to update things that will save the City.”

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