This morning, the Delaware River Waterfront Corp (DRWC) board voted upon four different proposals for the redevelopment of land around Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. Of note to Philadelphia sports fans, one of the proposals was submitted by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) and included plans for an 18,500-seat arena for the Sixers. Here are the details of the HBSE proposal:
Full details of 76ers plan, which includes some footprint in Camden, accessible via ferry pic.twitter.com/9XfzGCFBIM— Ryan W Briggs (@rw_briggs) September 9, 2020
However, after voting concluded, a first-round sweep to the Boston Celtics is no longer the most recent defeat Josh Harris and David Blitzer have had to swallow.
# BREAKING - Stop the process: @DelRiverWfront board unanimously approves Penn’s Landing development proposal from the NY-based Durst Organization, NOT the 76ers arena proposal. pic.twitter.com/SaXYJGMEXB— Mike DeNardo (@_MikeDeNardo) September 9, 2020
The board voted unanimously to move forward with the proposal from The Durst Organization, which was as follows:
Fourth and final proposal from NYC's Durst Org. No public subsidy. pic.twitter.com/4Tnm716ZIW— Ryan W Briggs (@rw_briggs) September 9, 2020
The lack of public subsidy in the Durst proposal appears to have been a major selling point. As part of its own proposal, HBSE was seeking $780 to $885 million in public incentives through the state’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) program. Durst also aligned more with DRWC’s master plan for the waterfront. I sure do love that 20,000 square feet of green space — just as Billy Penn intended.
It’s no secret that there’s tension between the Sixers owners and their current Comcast-Spectator landlords at the Wells Fargo Center. Now stymied at Penn’s Landing, Harris, Blitzer, and company will set their sights elsewhere in order to strike out on their own. Camden and those business-friendly tax incentives loom large on the horizon.