Black religious and community leaders announce support for proposed arena and formalize commitments alongside the 76 Place development team to ensure project is a win for the Black community
Philadelphia, PA, October 17, 2023 – In an event today at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity was joined by other community and political leaders as they officially announced their support for 76 Place at Market East and signed a memorandum of understanding between the organization and the 76 Place development team. The endorsement comes after months of deliberation within their organization, congregations, and with other clergy and community groups, and considerable communication with the development team to understand the full scope of the project and benefits that it will create for the local Black community and city at large.
“Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity is proud to support this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Black community to be involved at a foundational level of a renaissance project for the city and region,” said Rev. Robert Collier, President of Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity. “We represent hundreds of congregations and tens of thousands of city residents who want the very best for the city, all of its communities, and its residents.”
Collier continued: “Philadelphia has not had a project in many years that has created this level of opportunity and excitement. More than $1 billion in new tax revenues for the city and public schools, a renewed nightlife, and a beacon of opportunity for Black entrepreneurs makes this a golden opportunity for the entire city.”
Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity’s backing of the project builds upon 76 Place’s announcement earlier this year of support from some of the region’s other leading congregations, along with the African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ, PA & DE. The development team has put opportunity at the center of the project, announcing initiatives that will invest in and create opportunities for Black businesses and workers through the arena’s construction and ongoing operations. These initiatives and partnerships include:
- A commitment to ensure businesses providing food and beverage at the arena are as diverse as the city itself, including a goal of 40 percent representation by Black-owned businesses
- A $2 million commitment to the African American Chamber of Commerce to prepare and scale Black businesses to become vendors, suppliers and concessionaires at 76 Place
- A partnership with Everybody Builds to grow a pipeline of Black talent and contractors
76 Place’s initiatives and partnerships focus on preparing Black residents and businesses to benefit from the project as part of a larger effort to ensure the proposed arena is a win for Philadelphia, including underrepresented business owners across the city. The development team is actively working with groups representing other communities to develop similar partnerships, programs and commitments to the ones it has developed with the Black Clergy and the African American Chamber of Commerce, which focus on the Black community. All of those conversations will inform key components of a $50M Community Benefits Agreement – the largest in Philadelphia’s history. Through collaboration with community stakeholders, the CBA will address priorities of the surrounding neighborhoods and ensure the communities across the city can reap the benefits of the development.
“76 Place has never just been about basketball or the site itself – it has always been about the positive impact that a project of this magnitude can make on the City,” said David Gould, 76ers Chief Diversity and Impact Officer. “In order for everyone to benefit, the project as a whole must reflect the diversity and vibrancy of our city. This can only happen if everyone has a seat at the table and engages in meaningful conversation to inform our planning and investments. We appreciate the members and leadership of Black Clergy for their willingness to have these conversations and hope that this can become a model for other groups that we are engaging.”
In addition to this announcement and the March endorsement from the African American Chamber of Commerce and other prominent faith leaders, the project has received recent support from groups including Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Building Industry Association (BIA), Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (EASRCC), Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council, General Building Contractors Association (GBCA), and Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA).
In the coming months, the 76 Place development team will continue to host public meetings where the community can learn more about the project, as well as commitments related to participation, investments in communities, and partnerships to ensure the project benefits the surrounding community as well as communities across the city, with an emphasis on communities of color.