The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) announced its formal opposition to the 76ers’s proposed arena near the city’s Chinatown.
On Thursday, the major business-leadership organization said “the arena deeply imperils the future of Chinatown,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The $1.3 billion arena was proposed to be built at the nearby Philadelphia Fashion District at 10th and Market Streets. The project would reportedly start construction in 2028 and open in September 2031.
The proposal, which was announced in July last year, was immediately met with criticism from the Chinatown community.
Although the building would not be built directly in Chinatown, residents have long voiced concerns that the arena would still negatively impact the community.
PCDC’s research found that 93% of business owners, 94% of residents and 95% of visitors oppose the arena.
The data reportedly comes from PCDC’s coalition of community organizations, which conducted three meetings with Chinatown business owners and collected more than 230 language-accessible surveys.
The opposition’s top concerns include gentrification, displacement, parking and traffic congestion and the deterioration of Chinatown culture.
On Thursday, 76 Devcorp, which is a partnership between 76ers managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer and real estate developer David Adelman, released a statement in response to PCDC’s announcement.
It’s disappointing when Market East is in the midst of economic decline and after our attempts to work with PCDC, that they would reach this decision without seeing our official proposal. Our investment will include one of the largest community benefits agreements in the history of our city and country, and focus on the priorities we’ve heard thus far from community stakeholders. In recent weeks, stakeholders continue to come out in support of this privately funded project at this critical time for our city. We remain committed to developing this project in a way that protects the city we love and benefits all of Philadelphia.
While Adelman previously offered to negotiate a community-benefits agreement that would involve business opportunities, protesters believe that his promises are all false pretenses for a land grab.
Besides PCDC, the Restaurant Industry for Chinatown’s Existence (RICE), which consists of about two dozen restaurants around the city, has also organized against the arena proposal.
The businesses stand with the Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena, Save Chinatown, No Arena in Chinatown Solidarity and Students for the Preservation of Chinatown, which includes University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College students.
“It’s up to us to take a stand and say, Hey, we as citizens should have a say as to how the city is developed,” Tess Wei of RICE said.
Harry Leong, a PCDC board member and the President of Philadelphia Suns, said the developers “may not have anticipated the strength or perseverance of the community,” adding that “money can’t buy everything.”