Philadelphia city officials will conduct an independent study that investigates the impact, opportunities and challenges posed by the planned 76ers arena.
The project, set for construction on the 1000 block of Market Street, has drawn backlash from community members in nearby Chinatown since its announcement last July. Residents and business owners believe the development will ultimately displace them.
“We recognize and appreciate that the 76ers proposal has generated significant attention across the city,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “While it’s an exciting opportunity, we must understand the impact it may have on the surrounding communities before any plans move forward.”
The independent investigation will consist of technical studies that evaluate the project’s building design, community impact and urban planning, economic impact, and parking and traffic impact.
The city said it will collaborate with other public partners and third-party consultants in conducting the studies. PIDC, its lead economic development agency, will issue requests for proposals (RFPs) to evaluate said considerations.
“For the project to move forward, it is imperative that the development team ensure the project works for the surrounding communities affected by this proposed arena,” Kenney added. “We look forward to engaging stakeholders and the surrounding communities as the City moves forward with its independent evaluation of the Sixers proposal.”
A spokesperson for 76 Devcorp, the Sixers’ development team, said the organization is “fully supportive of the analysis and looks forward to collaborating with city leadership,” as per Philly Voice.
Some Chinatown residents are skeptical of the study.
“We are very concerned that this was posted suddenly, without advanced knowledge of our community,” said Ellen Somekawa of the Save Chinatown Coalition, according to Audacy.
We understand that this impacts more than Chinatown. That yes, we have a central concern on preserving this sacred and treasured neighborhood that’s irreplaceable, that’s true. But we also think that this arena is not going to be good for Philadelphians as a whole, and those impacts must be studied as well.
Meanwhile, others remain opposed to the project regardless of what the study finds.
“We don’t really want the arena in Chinatown, we want the arena to stay where it is,” said Talia Young, as per Action News. “We like going to sports events in the sports complex, it seems great to us and we have a cohesive neighborhood.”
The demolition of the proposed arena’s location is scheduled for 2026. Construction will begin in 2028, followed by an official opening in 2031.