‘Hands off Chinatown!’ Hundreds question Sixers’ commitment to community engagement at raucous meeting on arena proposal

Hundreds pack Ocean Harbor Restaurant for a community meeting over the Sixers' areana proposal

Hundreds packed Ocean Harbor Restaurant to ask questions and find out information about the proposal to build a new sports arena in Center City. (Jordan Levy/Billy Penn)

Hundreds packed a Wednesday evening town hall in Chinatown, hosted by more than 20 community organizations, to voice concerns and ask questions about the plan to build a new Sixers’ arena in Center City.

Over 200 people gathered at Ocean Harbor Restaurant on Race Street, filling every seat and stool in the dining room and spreading into standing-room-only space around the sides. Nearby Little Saigon Cafe was used as a spillover location, where about 100 more people watched via livestream.

The atmosphere was charged, and firmly anti-arena, with frequent booing over the Sixers’ proposal to build the team’s new home on Market Street, replacing the western part of the Fashion District, by 2031.

“Our city has enough issues, why build an arena?” said one audience member.

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“Why can’t you stay at the Wells Fargo Center?” asked another.

The meeting was conducted in multiple languages, with statements translated to and from Mandarin, English, and Cantonese.

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