It has been over a year since the Philadelphia 76ers first released their proposal to build a new arena complex in downtown Center City Philadelphia. There are both proponents and opponents to the idea, and the organization has been on what they term a “listening tour” to try and alleviate some of the concerns with the proposal.
Today, the Sixers released an updated proposal, the most significant update being the inclusion of $250 million mixed-incoming housing. Here are the details from the organization, including a pledge to designate 20 percent of the units as affordable housing:
“During discussions with community stakeholders, the team consistently heard residential affordability is a primary concern. As a result, one of the ways the 76ers are prepared to help increase the supply of affordable housing is through an additional private investment of $250 million in a mixed-income residential building that sits atop the arena. Although not a requirement of the site’s zoning, the team pledges to designate 20 percent of the estimated 395 units for rent as affordable housing. This addition of housing to the project is consistent with national trends of combining new sports arenas with mixed-use developments. In addition to increasing the supply of affordable housing, it will also benefit the city by creating additional foot traffic year-round along East Market Street.”
Another interesting new feature is the event floor (or court level) being one level above street level. From the team:
“The team is prepared to make a significant investment in the infrastructure of 76 Place that involves raising the event floor to be one level above street level. Doing so alleviates previous concerns from the community regarding the arena’s impact to Jefferson Station. This will also allow for a public promenade that creates greater pedestrian flow between Cuthbert Street and Market Street, with a new Market Street front door for Jefferson Station which offers direct connection to over 200 transit stations — a pivotal connection point that previously did not exist. Another benefit of raising the arena floor is it will enable greater opportunities for street level retail that are open and active to the public year-round, not only event nights and not only for ticketholders.”
Be sure to check out the full release for other updates the team has announced. Whether you are for or against the proposal, it at least appears to me that the Sixers are putting forth a good-faith effort to listen to concerns and make adjustments to the design. We’ll continue to see what comes out of all of this and whether 76 Place at Market East turns from a design rendering to a reality.