Dec 5, 2022 - News

Chinatown leaders evaluate Sixers arena proposal

Gates of Chinatown in Philadelphia.

The gates of Chinatown. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Philadelphia's Chinatown leaders are ramping up efforts to ensure they have a seat at the table as plans progress to build a new Sixers arena in the neighboring Fashion District.

Driving the news: Four groups in Chinatown last week formed a committee to review the potential impact that the proposed $1.3 billion development at 10th and Market Streets might have on the area's future.

Why it matters: Chinatown lacks affordable housing and public spaces and many businesses in the area are still struggling to recover from the pandemic, the new committee's members wrote in a statement in Metro Chinese Weekly, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • They want to ensure the project doesn't make their "vibrant" cultural and business hub less safe, or drive people out.

Catch up fast: Since announcing the stadium proposal in July, real-estate magnate David Adelman, who's the 76ers' point man on the project, and other team leaders have held several information sessions.

  • In November, more than 200 Philadelphia Chinese Community Organization United members gathered with Sixers leadership to discuss the plan. That same month, hundreds of community members and students protested against the development.
  • Sixers leaders have shared plans to fund studies into some concerns and they asked the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) to set up a steering committee to work through solutions, the Inquirer reported. The PCDC's executive director, John Chin, is one of the newly formed committee's leaders.

What's ahead: The committee will assess Chinatown's needs and challenges, which leaders say will inform how the group responds to future development proposals.

What they're saying: Dan Tsao, who owns Metro Chinese Weekly and co-chairs the new committee, tells Axios the group won't endorse or oppose the project until they better understand the possible implications or benefits for the neighborhood.

  • "It's a double-edged sword. One edge can help you, the other edge can hurt you," he said. "We want to listen and hear what the 76ers have to offer."

The other side: Adelman has offered to negotiate incentives as part of a community-benefits agreement that could provide aid to businesses, improve security and finance construction projects to make the arena more attractive.

What to watch: The project would also require layers of city approval, including to close off part of Filbert Street to make way for the arena.


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