76 Place at Market East, the 76ers’ newly proposed arena, aims to serve as a model for equitable, inclusive community development. The 76ers have been on a listening tour and conducting research to better understand both the needs, concerns and opportunities of the communities surrounding the proposed site, as well as solutions that will help ensure the project is a win for everyone. Input from community stakeholders has already informed updates to the proposal and will continue to inform the structure of a $50-million Community Benefits Agreement — the largest in Philadelphia’s history.
During recent information sessions, questions were asked regarding community impact and benefits. Here are some of those questions and responses to provide clarity.
What is the “community listening tour,” and what is that information being used for?
The 76ers have had more than 75 meetings with community groups, local businesses, neighborhood associations, and cultural organizations. These meetings have provided critical feedback. In response, updates have been made to the site’s proposal since it was first announced, including raising the arena up one floor to provide space for ground floor retail and adding a residential building that will add affordability and activity to the area. Both the retail and residential additions will bring more people to the area, supporting local businesses and ensuring the site is active and vibrant year-round—two priorities that have been consistently voiced by community stakeholders.
Will there be a community impact study?
Yes. The City of Philadelphia is currently undergoing a community impact study. The City has selected the consultants for the study and will manage the overall process. The 76ers provided the funding for the study to avoid the use of taxpayer dollars to review their proposal, but the team and its ownership were not involved in the selection of the consultants and have no sign-off on the studies’ contents.
What will be included in the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)?
The 76ers have committed to investing $50 million for a legally binding CBA to support priorities of communities around the site, ensure economic opportunity for communities of color, and address community concerns. Based on community feedback, the CBA for this project could include:
- Parking and traffic control
- Clean and safe services
- Programs to promote expanded residential and commercial affordability
- Resources to ensure communities of color can benefit from the jobs and contract opportunities created by 76 Place (e.g., a $2M fund to help prepare local Black businesses to operate within the arena)
- Resources for neighborhood community and cultural programs
How can you ensure the project doesn’t make the same mistakes of developers whose projects have harmed other Chinatowns?
The 76ers have researched and analyzed other projects and Chinatowns to ensure 76 Place avoids past mistakes and applies best practices. Some differences between this project and others include 1) a legally binding community benefits agreement; 2) a commitment to expanding the supply of affordable housing; and 3) avoiding the active displacement of any residents or businesses.