Sixers field questions from concerned residents about proposed Center City arena

Developers hoping to build a new Sixers arena in Center City held a public meeting Thursday where they promoted benefits the stadium could bring to the area and addressed concerns of locals. 

"I want to bring Philly the best arena in the country," 76 Place Chairman David Adelman said. "We are not asking for anything different than the six other professional sports teams in Pennsylvania: our own home." 

A huge crowd made up of mostly labor union workers who would directly benefit from construction of the new arena packed a meeting room at the Sheraton Hotel in Center City. A small number of opponents from the Chinatown community also attended the meeting.

"All we have is kind of pretty pictures," Mary Lee from Save Chinatown Coalition said. "If the arena comes here, rents and property values will rise, and we are afraid of gentrification." 

The plan is to build the new arena between 10th and 11th streets and Market and Filbert streets, right in the heart of the city's Chinatown section. The Sixers provided a translator at Thursday's meeting, ensuring they want to work with the community to make it a better and more vibrant area.

"We will not displace one business or resident in Chinatown," Adelman said. 

Some who were silently protesting construction of the arena with signs were escorted out by hotel security, but later let back into the meeting and allowed to ask questions. One opponent argued that it would be more beneficial to the city to pour union jobs into building schools or housing. 

"The NBA and our fans across the league, as I said, there's a reason that 27 out of 30 teams have relocated to the urban core of the city," Adelman said. 

If the Sixers receive approval to build the proposed arena, it's estimated that construction would take three years and open in Sept. 2031.