If you are from Greater Philadelphia, you have probably heard that the Philadelphia 76ers are trying to build a new arena in Center City Philadelphia in 2032. The arena would be called 76 Place. The location would be where the Fashion District currently stands (part of it) which is right above SEPTA’s Jefferson Station. You can read more on the details here.
This is not the first time that the Sixers wanted to move from their current location. In 2020 they attempted a move to the Delaware River Waterfront but the bid failed. There is no guarantee that this move will ever happen. The city must approve it and there has already been tons of pushback mainly from the Chinatown community.
The topic has been debated on social media all summer and the majority seem to think that it’s a horrible idea. We may be the exception to the majority on this matter. While not a popular opinion, here are reasons why we think that this is a total win for everyone in Philadelphia.
- It’s time for a change: Philadelphia is a great city. Like most big cities it has issues, but people want to move here because of the positives and the potential. Over the last 20 years change has been very good to this city. Neighborhoods where people said nobody would want to live here like Fishtown and Northern Liberties have developed and now are highly desirable. The location where this new arena is planned is basically the strip of the city that you drive by simply to head to Old City. It’s time to make this area a place that people want to go to.
- Let’s face it, this location has always sucked: Sorry for being brutally honest, but as a lifelong Philadelphian, this location always sucked. With the exception of taking the train here to see the great light show at Wanamaker’s during the holiday season, there was no reason to go to this area. The Gallery sounded great, but let’s face it there was nothing there that made you say “Let’s go shop at The Gallery”. Most of the time The Gallery was totally empty and this was back before people shopped online. The Fashion District never had a chance to work. The name is totally deceptive to begin with. When you hear The Fashion District you think top of the line designer stores. What you really get is a bunch of outlets that aren’t worth coming to. Let’s face it you never hear people say “Let’s go to the Fashion District.” If the Fashion District goes away, nobody will care.
- Myth- It will ruin the current Stadium location: I will say it is nice to have all of the major sports teams playing in the same location. However, the stadium area was meant to be more and thus far it’s not. It’s simply the area that you go to watch our sports teams play. Nobody goes there unless there is a game (or concert) and they leave after the event. Xfinity Live is a nice thing to have near the stadiums, but nobody goes there unless they are going to one of the games. I would love to see this area develop and turn into a place that people want to go to always (not just during games), but so far it’s never happened. If the Sixers leave the area, it won’t ruin the current location for the other teams. If anything it may eliminate some traffic when the Sixers would typically be playing.
- The traffic will be horrible: The traffic in Philadelphia has always been horrible. Adding the stadium may add more traffic during event nights. I am certain the developers know this and have plans to eliminate crazy traffic. People will also start using public transportation which will take them right to the arena. If you ever did this in NYC, you will appreciate how easy this is. Yes, Philadelphia is not NYC, but this is not happening for 10 years! I’m not sure if we even had iPads 10 years ago. This will be worked out and there is 10 years to do it.
- Myth- It will ruin Chinatown: I think this is more of the fear of change that people in communities have. I can’t see how this would be bad for Chinatown. It would bring tons of people to the area to shop in their businesses which would bring in more money. Chinatown is great, but everyone knows an influx of money in the area would improve it and make it even better.
There are two ways to look at this potential move. The negative view fears the traffic, parking and how it will ruin the city. The positive view sees the stadium as a way to revive a dead area of the city and bring more money into the area.
The product that the owners put on the court will likely also be top notch when moving here. The arena is totally privately funded. It will not cost anyone, anything. We will have a new state of the art arena which we currently don’t have. It will also bring in more events and concerts which are more nights that the city will bring in money. Things will change in 10 years. We have clients from other countries who are coming to buy homes up in areas because there is word of a train system coming that will allow people to travel from NYC to Philly super fast.
My take on this is do it. Take a chance, try something new, go for it. What do you think of the potential move?