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African American Chamber CEO Regina A. Hairston speaks in support of new Sixers arena proposal in Center City. Photo Credit: 76 Place.
African American Chamber CEO Regina A. Hairston speaks in support of new Sixers arena proposal in Center City. Photo Credit: 76 Place.

African American Chamber throws its support behind proposed new Sixers stadium

The main reason for its support is the avenues of opportunity it would provide for the Black business community.

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Since the Philadelphia 76ers first announced its plan to build a new stadium in Center City, there have been many reactions both for and against the new stadium’s proposed location.

Yesterday, the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE Board of Directors officially voted in public support for the 76ers stadium development.

Its main cause of support is the “additional avenues of opportunity” it would provide “to our Black business community.”

The number of jobs the new stadium would produce is among the primary reasons the African American Chamber is in support of the proposal. 

“As a City, as a community, we must think creatively to intentionally grow our business communities. We must open every door that is in front of us to take full advantage of every opportunity to grow and expand our ecosystem across the region,” said Regina A. Hairston, African American Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, in a statement.

“I know that the Black business community in Philadelphia is vibrant, it’s ready, and it’s excited to play a significant role in this vital project,” she added.

The Sixers recently announced that they would devote $2 million to preparing Black-owned businesses to be ready to take jobs in the planned area.

David Gould, chief diversity and impact officer of the company that owns and operates the Sixers, noted that 40% of the arena's food, drink and concessions operations will be run by Black businesses. 

While the African American Chamber and other prominent Black leaders in the city have taken this side of the discussion, a Chinatown Coalition of over 40 different organizations has made their voices heard in strong opposition to the proposed arena site.

With the proposed arena location on 10th and 11th Streets in the Fashion District in Center City, many have expressed the negative impact it would have on the businesses in the nearby Chinatown area.

The discussions today aren’t far off from similar ones more than two decades ago when then-Mayor John Street proposed the idea of constructing a new $688 million baseball stadium near Chinatown on 12th & Vine Streets.

Earlier this week, Chinatown advocates partnered with PhillyCAM on a “No More Wrecking Balls,” music video as a way to highlight its long history of battles against potential development projects negatively impacting their neighborhood and businesses. 

With the design of the new arena not scheduled to begin until 2024 and construction not until 2028, there is still some time to tie all loose ends together and listen to all sides of the discussion before finalizing the logistics of the arena’s location, both sides are making their cases. 

To the Chamber, the development of the new Sixers stadium marks a promising sign for the future.

“Intentional development, when done properly, increases the number of opportunities open to our entire business community.”

It will be an interesting several months ahead as discussions gain more steam on the new arena location proposal. 

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