Philadelphia’s Chinatown Residents Will Soon Know If A Feasibility Study Will Recommend Building An Arena In Their Backyard

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Mac McClung of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots during the slam dunk competition of the NBA basketball All-Star weekend Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rob Gray)

The team is paying for the consultant’s study.

At some point soon, consultants who were chosen by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, a public-private economic development agency that helps evaluate and oversee large projects in Philadelphia, will be releasing their findings of whether it is feasible to build a basketball arena in the Chinatown District of the city. The consultants’ fee of $655,000 is being partially paid by the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers ownership led by Josh Harris. City officials didn’t want taxpayers to fund the survey and welcomed the 76ers ownership’s financial backing of the survey. In 2023, Philadelphia city officials claimed the basketball team ownership would have no input in the selection of the company doing the survey.

The residents of Chinatown are not thrilled with the notion of having an arena in their neighborhood and have questioned why the city of Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation would take money from the group to fund a study of an arena the group wants. 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 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 has become contentious and the contest is just in the opening minutes of action.

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