The city wants to take a close look at building a basketball arena in the Chinatown district.
The mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, is at odds with the people who live in the Chinatown district of the city about the possibility of the National Basketball Association’s 76ers ownership building an arena in their neighborhood. “I still am very excited about the possibility of this kind of this size development in our downtown on East Market Street,” he said. But the local residents are for the most part not very excited. The proposed $1.3 billion venue would be privately-funded. But privately funded means there is some government financial assistance in terms of tax breaks or incentives. Local residents don’t want the building and are fighting the plan. Forty-one organizations have banded together to form the Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has joined them in an effort to stop the plan.
Kenney, who is a lame duck mayor, wants to take a close look at the plans and to that end, he wants an independent study of the proposal. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation will come up with an independent panel to address all issues. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation wants other eyes to assess the building design, community impact and urban planning along with economic impact, and parking/traffic impact. Kenney is probably hoping that whoever does the study will give a thumbs up to the 76ers arena. “It’s an exciting opportunity for private investment. A lot of private investment in downtown and on East Market Street. But we can’t really make a decision until we have all the facts. This study will show us, or give us an idea, regarding the impacts it will have on the community, on parking, on traffic, on economics. And we really can’t make a decision of this magnitude without having all that data at our fingertips.” The arena game is being played in Philadelphia.
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