Controversial new Sixers arena talks continue as economic impact study overdue

Supporters and opponents of the proposed new arena for the 76ers do agree on one issue: a study on the social and economic impact of the arena, now overdue, will have substantial impact whether it’s built.

Billed as a fireside chat, the man leading the charge to build the Sixers new arena in the Market East neighborhood faced a friendly crowd of businesspeople in an Old City museum.

David Adelman is the Chairperson of 76 Place at Market East. He told the gathering of the Center City Business Association, "I’m prepared with my partners to put up $1.5 billion to bring Philadelphia back to life - help reimagine Center City and be a catalyst to redevelop Market East."

Adelman, a billionaire developer of student housing, spoke as the City Planning Commission heard testimony on changes to the 18,000 seat arena, including more retail on the ground floor and changes to proposed street closures.

Arguing the arena will be good for both the Sixers and the city, Adelman spoke of being "punched in the face daily" over the plan. He said, "I think there lots of opinions, and they’re entitled to their opinions. I do think there’s been a portrayal of the project convenient to some."


All sides of the issue are in a holding pattern as the city awaits a study, paid for by the Sixers, but produced by independent consultants, on the economic and community impact. Vivian Chang, of Asian Americans United, who are opposed to the arena, said, "Why not keep it in South Philly? Keep it where the other stadiums are. Why go after a community like this?"

Opponents claim they already know the impact on Chinatown, the closure of businesses, the loss of jobs and community. They argue the city’s review of design plans is far too early.

Chang said, "Arena is in the wrong location. That’s not even being addressed, and the studies are too early. How is it we’re talking about design when we don’t know the impact economically and socially?"