You don’t need to be an expert in best practices of business process optimization to know that six hours plus is a long*** meeting. But we’re here for you, O faithful readers, to give you the latest round of updates on a topic we have discussed more often than any other recently – the 76 Place arena proposal for the Sixers potential new home in Market East. We already gave you a big rundown of the plans in advance of several recent public meetings, including the most recent review of the high-level master plans to be presented to the Civic Design Review. And as you’ve likely heard by now, that meeting took place earlier this week.
As mentioned, this was a long, dense meeting, basically lasting all day. The 76 Place team went through a thorough explanation of the program, including the proposed boundaries, parking plans, pedestrian flow, and an update on the tower portion – which is to include 395 units, along with 79 units (20% of the total) being marked as affordable. Little new information was provided, with a proposed timeline of demo in 2026, construction in 2028, with plans for a 2031 opening.
After the presentation was wrapped, rounds of public comments were heard, with many of the speakers expressing concerns over the various issues that have been broached in the past, namely traffic and the loss of Chinatown’s culture. We have to say, for such an emotionally-heightened topic, the overall vibe of the comment portion was shockingly calm, with legitimate questions being raised about certain topics where more information would be helpful.
And that, our dear readers, is the main issue: no matter your feelings about the proposed Center City arena, we were a bit disappointed with the level of details that were provided, especially after such a long process leading up to this. And while we understand that this is a massive undertaking to put together detailed information for an arena over a train station, it is essential to have a clear understanding of how this would function before making any decisions about moving forward. As such, we were not surprised when the CDR committee voted to continue this, meaning a return trip sometime in the future.
However, we couldn’t just end with that, could we? To add to the mix, there was a question as to the legality of the proceedings, specifically regarding having a master plan meeting on a site that has yet to receive an ordinance. Granted, our expertise is real estate blogging, not land use law, but this additional drama could (potentially) add further confusion to the future of this proposal. When all is said and done, it feels like we have even less idea of how things will proceed from here than we did before this latest chapter in the book of 76 Place.