Details include commitments and plans for job creation, business development and other economic opportunity programs in support of Black businesses and workers
In a press conference today, the Philadelphia 76ers announced several new initiatives designed to create economic opportunity for the local Black community through the newly proposed arena, 76 Place at Market East. The plan includes concrete commitments for money spent with the Black community and businesses both during and after construction, detailed plans for how those commitments will be met, and forthcoming investments the 76ers will be making to ensure the project benefits all Philadelphians.
The 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 and underrepresented businesses across the city. It is also the first official component of a $50M commitment to address priorities of the surrounding neighborhoods and ensuring the communities across the city can reap the benefits of the development. This would be the largest monetary commitment for any single development project in the history of Philadelphia.
“The AACC supports the development of projects which specifically advance opportunities for Black businesses in this community to grow and thrive,” said Regina Hairston, President of the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ & DE. “Our community generates $835B in spending in the U.S. economy alone. We are vital to the economy and must always be at the table. As a city, as a community, we must think creatively and intentionally in order to grow our diverse business communities. We must open every door that is in front of us and take full advantage of every opportunity to grow and expand the ecosystem across the region. As President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce, I know that the Black business community in Philadelphia is vibrant, it is ready, and it is excited to play a significant role in this project.”
“As a pastor and a leader in the city of Philadelphia, it is my belief that this project will serve as an extraordinary catalyst for the economic development of our city,” said Pastor Lonnie Herndon of the Church of Christian Compassion. “The versatility of a state-of-the-art facility has the potential to not only revitalize the Center City business district, but can also bridge the gap between Philadelphia and the surrounding counties.”
“This project matters because my heart is to ‘future proof’ Black men in this city,” added Pastor Carl Day of Culture Changing Christians Worship Center. “We are building the city with those who are investing in Black businesses. This is an invitation for us to build with the rest of the city. This is a new day for our community.”
Details of the initiatives were unveiled at a press conference, during which pastors from local, leading Black congregations such as Mt. Carmel Baptist Church and Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, along with the African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ, PA, & DE, announced their support for the project, including how Black communities can benefit from a $1.3 billion private investment in Center City, and how their partnership with the 76ers will ensure that happens. The plan highlighted efforts to invest proactively in talent and businesses in the Black community to prepare them to take advantage of the opportunities that the arena will provide through both its construction and ongoing operations:
76 Place Food and Beverage Operations: The makeup of businesses providing food and beverage offerings in 76 Place will reflect the racial diversity of our city, including a goal of 40 percent represented by Black-owned businesses.
Fund for Black-Owned Businesses: To accomplish this, the 76ers will create a minimum of a $2 million fund that will be used to help prepare and scale Black businesses to become vendors, suppliers, and concessionaires at 76 Place.
Everybody Builds: The 76ers are supporting efforts to grow a pipeline of Black talent and contractors so that by the time 76 Place breaks ground, there are more Black workers from Philadelphia communities that have the capacity, experience, and preparation to work on the project. This commitment is represented by the 76ers’ role as a founding funder and board member of Everybody Builds — a partnership between the Urban Affairs Coalition, large scale developers and institutions, contractors, and labor leaders focused on growing the capacity of diverse talent and businesses. The program is focused on:
- Connecting contractors and apprentices to work opportunities on large-scale development projects
- Investing in supports such as bonding capacity, mentorship, and access to capital
- Supporting pre-apprenticeship, workforce development, and connections to union apprenticeship placements
“We know that to do this project the right way, Black businesses and Philadelphians have to be in a position to benefit and the project as a whole must reflect the diversity and vibrancy of our city,” said David Gould, 76ers Chief Diversity and Impact Officer. “Our commitment remains to work with communities across the city to develop solutions that ensure those who are often left out of projects like these can benefit, and we know that can only happen with thoughtful planning, proactive investment, and partnerships with local leaders, experts, and other local stakeholders such as those here today.”
The privately-funded arena is anticipated to cost approximately $1.3 billion and will provide $1.9 billion in overall economic output during construction and $400 million annually upon opening to support Philadelphia’s long-term economic growth and sustainability. The development will create 9,000 construction-related jobs during the construction phase and 1,000 permanent jobs once it opens. The initiatives unveiled are meant to ensure Black workers and businesses have meaningful representation and opportunity. In the coming months, the 76ers will continue to unveil additional 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.
For more information on 76 Place and these initiatives, visit 76place.com. For media interviews, contact: 76ersPR@76ers.com.