Joel Harris’ ownership is meeting resistance to the building.
Joel Harris, who purchased the National Football League’s Washington Commanders franchise from Daniel Snyder, is now a sports hero in the Washington, D. C., northern Virginia and Maryland district area. But in Philadelphia, Joel Harris, the owner of the National Basketball Association’s 76ers franchise, is not being warmly received at the moment because he wants to build a basketball arena in the Chinatown area of the city. The problem? Local residents want no part of the arena. The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation is of the opinion that the proposed arena “imperils the future of Chinatown.” Harris’ 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.
One group that is unimpressed with Harris’ proposal is an architectural group. A Philadelphia organization made up of more than 2,100 architects and building design experts have given the plan a thumbs. The architect claimed that the proposed building would do nothing for East Market Street and would ”make matters worse” in the neighborhood. The Design Advocacy Group said that rather than “integrate itself into the fabric of the city,” the proposed arena, which would take up a footprint of 10th to 11th and Market to Filbert Streets, would “abolish Filbert Street, bury SEPTA’s Jefferson Regional Rail station, and wall off Chinatown.” The group also concluded that the arena would not bring much business to the area except on the 40 or 50 days or nights that a game would be played. Harris though is plowing ahead in Philadelphia.
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