The NBA franchise wants a new arena in Philadelphia.
If you live in the Philadelphia Chinatown district, you might have some skepticism about a city analysis of the area where the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers franchise ownership wants to build an arena. The basketball franchise ownership will be paying for a study of the district and how building an arena might impact the quality of living for the local residents. The local residents once said no to building a Major League Baseball park for the Philadelphia Phillies in the neighborhood and a good many residents living in Chinatown want no part of the arena project. The 76ers ownership group, who would be the project developer, will give money to the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the city’s public-private economic development agency. The agency would then use the cash to hire consultants to conduct the survey. Philadelphia officials said the 76ers ownership group would fund the $655,000 cost of two parts of the study, with the cost of a third part still to be determined. City officials don’t want taxpayers to fund the survey and welcomed the 76ers ownership’s funding of a survey. The city officials claim the basketball team will have no input in the selection of the company doing the survey.
The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation is of the opinion that the proposed arena “imperils the future of Chinatown.” Meanwhile 76ers ownership is dangling the possibility of creating temporary construction jobs as part of its pitch and has gotten support from Philadelphia residents who do not live in the Chinatown district. Philadelphia’s African American Chamber of Commerce and Black clergy have endorsed the project. The 76ers ownership claims the proposed $1.3 billion venue would be privately-funded. But privately funded means there is government financial assistance in terms of tax breaks or incentives. The battle in the arena game in Philadelphia could end up in court.
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