This story originally appeared on 6abc.
The Philadelphia 76ers are proposing building a brand-new arena in Center City, moving it from South Philadelphia to the Fashion District.
It would be called 76 Place at Market East. The team launched a website Thursday at 76place.com explaining the proposal.
The team’s lease at the Wells Fargo Center is up in 2031.
“Wells Fargo Center is currently one of the oldest NBA arenas and by the time our lease expires in 2031, it will be 35 years old. Considering most arenas only remain in service for 30-40 years, the current location is not conducive to our vision of building a championship-level franchise for decades to come,” the organizers say.
“While we are thankful for the recent renovations made by Comcast Spectacor to improve the fan experience, these are typical for arenas that are 20 years old and will not significantly extend the life of the building.”
This location would be on Market Street between 10th and 11th street. They would have to demolish a block of the Fashion District Mall, formerly The Gallery, to make that happen.
The arena is being developed by 76 Devcorp, a partnership between 76ers managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer and real estate developer and investor David Adelman.
In addition, 76 Devcorp is collaborating with Mosaic Development Partners, a Philadelphia-based real estate development company certified MBE (Minority Business Enterprise).
The developers say the idea is “inspired by the success of downtown arenas in other cities,” like Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The effort would be privately funded.
“We are not seeking any funding from the City of Philadelphia,” the developers say.
A message on the 76 Place website reads:
“The 76ers are ready to bring a new, championship caliber arena back to the heart of Philadelphia. 76 Place is proposed as the new home of the Philadelphia 76ers, where we will build a new arena that is privately funded and developed in collaboration with the community. We are committed to working with local stakeholders to ensure the project supports the surrounding neighborhoods and promotes economic opportunity, inclusivity and accessibility.”
The 76ers say the project would be a “major economic driver for Philadelphians, creating jobs and contract opportunities during construction and after opening.”
According to the project team, the construction would create $1.9 billion of economic output and 9,000 jobs. The arena would bring $400 million of economic output annually and 1,000 jobs.
Construction is anticipated to start in 2027, they say, with completion in time for the 2031-2032 NBA Season.
The team behind the arena is looking for public input. They say a Community Benefits Agreement will be developed to “address community concerns and advance key neighborhood priorities.”
The developers say Philadelphia was once home to two arenas – the Wells Fargo Center and the Spectrum – and are confident the city can support two arenas again.
As for questions about parking, the developers say they envision this location would rely on public transit. However, for those who would drive to the games, they say the arena would be in a mile radius of 29 parking garages.
Organizers say this project will not eliminate any residential homes or displace existing residents. They say they are aware of how past development efforts in Chinatown were opposed.
“The team is aware of those efforts and the threats they posed for the community, which is why this project is being approached differently. We are proposing to replace one entertainment complex with another, and will not displace any residents in Chinatown,” the developers say.
Their plan is to work with the owners of the Fashion District to reimagine the remaining 2/3 of the mall as an entertainment hub to complement the arena.