Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration appeared to endorse a plan to put a new 76ers arena at 10th and Market streets, saying in a statement that it’s an “ideal site for a world class sports and entertainment arena.”
A spokesperson said in the statement that there are no plans for the city to provide any new subsidy for the project.
“We are excited about the energy that this will bring to Philadelphia’s historic retail district,” the statement said. “Based on our briefings to date, we are optimistic about the development team’s robust community engagement process and their commitment to equity and inclusion.”
The administration also reiterated that it’s committed to finding a “long-term” home for the Sixers and will work with the development team on potential changes to zoning, permitting, urban planning, “calculation of real estate taxes,” and community engagement.
The developers of the $1.3 billion project include the managing partners of the 76ers and apartment developer David J. Adelman. The team’s proposal is to demolish a block of the Fashion District Philadelphia and construct an 18,500-seat arena atop the SEPTA transit hub.
While Adelman told The Inquirer that the project would not seek city dollars, a 30-year agreement that reduced the site’s property taxes is currently set to last through 2035.
The city spokesperson said the developers will engage in a “robust” community engagement project. More than 20 years ago, Chinatown residents and business owners protested a proposal to put a Phillies stadium at 12th and Vine streets, and the plan was scuttled. Many in the neighborhood also opposed a 2009 plan to put a casino in Chinatown.
At-large City Councilmember Helen Gym — who was among the protesters who opposed those past plans — said she is “extremely skeptical” of the proposal and is concerned that the Chinatown community had not been consulted.
“I’m not interested in development that says that it will be merely tolerant of, inclusive of, adjacent to Chinatown,” she said. “It should actually benefit the community whose development trajectory has benefitted the entire city of Philadelphia.”