76ers want new arena at Penn's Landing but not everyone agrees

Thursday, September 3, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia 76ers might be moving away from the Wells Fargo Center to a new arena at Penn's Landing.

The team made it clear last week that they want to move from South Philadelphia and into a new proposed arena along the Delaware River Waterfront between Market and Chestnut streets--roughly a 7.4-acre site.

Fans are mixed about the idea.

"I think they should do it, anything that helps," said Lou Copozzoli of South Philadelphia.

"I think it's best that they keep it where it's at. Close to the other stadiums, keep everything together," said Joe Pizzo of South Philadelphia.

The $4 billion arena bid vows to create 35,000 jobs in Penn's Landing and promises a solid commitment to include Black and brown communities in the proposal. That has garnered the support of a coalition of leading minority business, civic and faith leaders.

"I look at this project as an opportunity to absolutely have tens of thousands of jobs," said Andrea Custis of the Urban League of Philadelphia.

"We are excited because we are concerned about a better quality of life for all our citizens and this is an opportunity we believe to put a lot of people to work," said Reverend Robert Collier of the Black Clergy.

But Action News recieved a differing view from others who have no quarrel with creating jobs and investment opportunities for minorities, but disagree with where they want to put it.

"I think it's a bad idea, the site is too small for such a large building for the number of visitors that will be there," said Harris Steinberg.

Steinberg, who is the executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University, led an effort to create a vision for the Central Delaware River with more than 6,000 participants clamoring for open spaces.

"That stadium in my mind would not fly with the citizens who participated in that process," said Steinberg.

Environmental groups don't like the idea either.

"A proposal like this butting the riverfront would be the antithesis of what the public and future plans for the river would be," said David Masur of PennEnvironment.

"The Sixers always say trust the process. There was a process, but now it seems that that process isn't the process the Sixers want to follow," said Masur.

The Sixers did not make anyone available to comment on their proposal nor did the Durst Real Estate Developer out of New York, which has also made a proposal for the property.

Officials with Mayor Jim Kenney's Office declined to comment on the plan.

A decision on the proposal is expected later this month.