PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --Action News has learned the Philadelphia 76ers are moving to a new practice facility in Camden, New Jersey.
"Great news for Camden City and for Camden County. Camden is moving forward in the right direction and this is a sign that businesses are looking at Camden as a place to do business," said Lewis Cappelli, Camden County Freeholder.
Sources say the team applied Friday for the state's highly cherished tax credits which were designed to lure businesses to New Jersey and compete with Pennsylvania's keystone economic zones.
"Listen, years ago Pennsylvania created the keystone zones which stole businesses away from other states so we are just trying to compete with other states," said Cappelli.
Mayor Michael Nutter late Friday said he had not heard anything official, adding that he would be disappointed with such a move.
He also said he was aware of how aggressively the State of New Jersey has been trying to lure the Sixers.
"If you have tens of millions of dollars that are being thrown at you just to entice you to do something, that's a business decision that someone would have to make. At some point you might not be able to overcome that particular challenge," said Mayor Nutter.
Action News has learned that the city of Philadelphia offered space at the Philadelphia Naval Yard and the Sixers turned down the offer.
In a statement, 76ers Chief Executive Officer Scott O'Neil said "As part of our due diligence related to a new Training Center, we have officially filed an application for a site along the New Jersey waterfront in Camden. We understand the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will be voting on an incentive for a possible facility on the waterfront at their upcoming meeting. We will have more to say on this matter after the EDA vote."
Sources tell Action News The New Jersey Economic Development Authority will formally meet on Tuesday, June 10th, to formally approve the Sixers' request to move their practice facility to the city of Camden.
The proposed 100,000 square foot practice facility will be near the Camden Aquarium.
Meanwhile the Mayor downplayed the developments saying the Sixers will still be playing basketball in Philadelphia.
"The Philadelphia 76ers are under a long term contract to play their basketball games at the Wells Fargo Center. It is where they will play their games no matter where they might possibly practice," said Mayor Nutter.
"Well, it means a lot to us. We'll have the 76ers practice facility, we have the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees. In Camden County there are two practice facilities which employ a lot of people so we're thrilled," said Cappelli.
The Sixers have rented practice space in the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine since 1999.
Part of the deal is that New Jersey would pay for 85 percent. If the deal goes through, which is expected, construction would start as early as October.