SIXERS NEW ARENA ISN’T A SLAM-DUNK TO CHINATOWN RESIDENTS!

By Lauren Little

Chinatown opponents of the Sixers new arena packed a town meeting last night, demanding specific answers from developers.

“We believe that our community’s voices need to be heard and this is the first of many opportunities where that’s going to happen,” Mohan Seshadri, executive director of the Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance (APIPA), told 6ABC.

The proposed arena would be on Market Street between 10th and 11th streets, with developers demolishing a block of the Fashion District Mall.

“Chinatown will no longer exist and secondly, it’s going to worsen traffic and it’s gentrification,” said canvasser Hao Wei.

“It’s going to bring up the price of everything. People will move out because they cannot afford the rent.”

Developers say they are trying to be good corporate citizens, and if they don’t buy the lot of land, other developers will and then do whatever they want with it without consulting with the community. The Sixers argue the arena will help the city.

“There is a lot of vacancy on that part of Market Street,” said David Gould, Chief Diversity and Impact Officer of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment. “The Fashion District is struggling financially and we think that this could be a good solution and bring more economic activities to that part of the city.”

But organizers accuse developers of deception and not being transparent. They allege just last week that 76 DevCorp tried to sneak a clause into a City Council bill that would fast-track the arena by allowing changes to Filbert Street. On Wednesday, Councilman Mark Squilla addressed that.

“Any legislation will not be considered unless shared with the Chinatown community,” said Squilla. “I make that commitment now and into the future.”

The Chinatown Steering Committee has scheduled a series of town hall meetings regarding the 76ers arena proposals. It will serve as listening sessions to hear comments and concerns.

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