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Sixers exploring new Philly arena: report

Philadelphia 76ersA new Philadelphia 76ers arena could be in the works, as NBA team ownership is exploring a new facility in the Penn’s Landing area on the downtown Delaware River waterfront, per an Inquirer report.

The Philadelphia 76ers currently are a tenant at Wells Fargo Center, sharing the arena with the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL); both the Flyers and the arena are owned by Comcast Spectacor.

It’s a long-term plan here: the team reportedly is looking at opening a new arena by 2031. Of course, it may take that many years to come up with a funding plan and community approval: redeveloping Penn’s Landing and the Delaware River waterfront has been a contentious issue in Philadelphia for a long time, and throwing in any level of financing for a new arena will surely complicate matters. From the Inquirer:

The Sixers are proposing to finance the project using a Neighborhood Improvement Zone, a state program that can allow development bonds to be issued based on future tax revenues from businesses within a certain area. The program was used to fund the construction of an arena in downtown Allentown. It’s not clear what the boundaries of the proposed NIZ would be.

The Sixers did not immediately comment Wednesday.

The proposal comes as the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation continues a years-long effort to reshape Penn’s Landing, and as the city moves forward with a separate project that will “cap” Interstate 95 between Chestnut and Walnut Streets, building a park over the highway that has long cut off Philadelphia from the waterfront.

Philadelphia is in a unique situation in that its major sporting facilities–Wells Fargo Center, Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field–are located in the same Broad Street area. That makes transit issues simpler, and it also is a boon for Comcast Spectacor, which is renovating Wells Fargo Arena and adding entertainment venues to the mix. For 76ers owner Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), which also manages Prudential Center as part of its New Jersey Devils (NHL) ownership, being shut out of arena redevelopment opportunities must be more than a little frustrating, and a new Penn’s Landing arena could, potentially, lead to some other associated redevelopment opportunities.

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