Is the Sixers’ new arena a Slam Dunk or Foul Play?

Posted by Copper Hill on Mon, Dec 4, '23



Hey, Philly Fam!

Are you familiar with the sports news that’s making waves in our beloved city? If you’re aware, consider yourself a fan. But if you are unaware, the brand-new Philadelphia Sixers Arena (aka 76 Place at Market East), planned for the heart of Center City, has been about as controversial as it gets. As a lifelong local resident myself, who's all about progress and development but sensitive to the issues that come with it, I'm excited to dive into the pros and cons of this major project that promises to elevate our city's sports and cultural scene to new heights.

Since I’m a positive guy, let's start with the positives, shall we?


  1. Economic Boost: The construction of 76 Place is not just about basketball; it's a slam dunk for the local economy! The influx of visitors, sports enthusiasts, and businesses will undoubtedly bring a surge in economic activity. Think about the increased foot traffic, bustling local restaurants/shops, and the rise in employment opportunities in the immediate area alone. It's not just a win for sports fans; it's a win for Center City.
  2. Revitalizing Center City: Center City is already a gem, but this arena is set to make it shine even brighter. The development plans include not only the arena but also surrounding infrastructure improvements, like parks, walkways, and public spaces. This injection of fresh energy will breathe new life into Market East, making it a more attractive destination for locals and tourists alike.
  3. Cultural Hub: Sports have always been a unifying force in Philly, and this arena has the potential to be more than just a venue for NBA games. It could become a cultural hub, hosting concerts, events, and community gatherings. Instead of all the pre/post-game spending staying in South Philly, that energy will spill onto Center City’s streets.
  4. Increased Property Values: Now, let's talk real estate. The development of 76 Place is likely to have a positive impact on property values in the surrounding areas. As the neighborhood becomes more vibrant and desirable, property values could see a steady increase. While we know there is a current love/hate relationship between 76 Place and the residents of Chinatown, this is still an opportunity for the two groups to work together to understand both sides of the argument.

Now, let's address the concerns – every rose has its thorns, right?


  1. Traffic Woes: One of the most immediate concerns that come to mind is the potential for increased traffic congestion. Hosting major events in Center City means more cars, more people, and potentially more headaches for commuters in an already tight, historic downtown. The city must implement effective traffic/parking management strategies to ensure that the arena doesn't turn daily commutes into nightmares.
  2. Gentrification Risks: As property values rise, there's always the risk of gentrification, pushing out long-time residents who can no longer afford to live in the area. It's crucial for the city to implement policies that protect the existing community and ensure that the benefits of development are shared equitably among the development stakeholders and local residents.
  3. Environmental Impact: Large-scale construction projects inevitably have environmental consequences. The materials used, the energy consumed, and the waste generated can contribute to ecological concerns. It's essential for the developers to prioritize sustainable practices and mitigate any negative impact on our environment.
  4. Affordability Challenges: While the new arena promises economic growth, there's the looming question of affordability. Will the benefits of this development reach all members of our community, or will it further widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots? The city must actively address issues of affordability, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the positive changes that come with this project.

To summarize, 76 Place is a double-edged sword – a thrilling opportunity for progress, and the potential for challenges. For me, I'm optimistic about the positive transformations this arena could bring; it would be a rock-solid anchor for Market East. However, it's crucial that we, as a community, stay engaged in the development process, advocating for solutions that prioritize inclusivity, sustainability, and the overall well-being of our diverse population.

Let's keep the conversation alive, my fellow Philadelphians. This is our city, and its future is in our hands. Together, we can make sure this new arena not only scores points on the court but also becomes a game-changer for the entire community.




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