Watch CBS News

Philadelphia City Planning Commission "don't have a final date" on long-awaited 76ers arena economic impact study

No timeline yet on Philadelphia 76ers arena economic impact study
No timeline yet on Philadelphia 76ers arena economic impact study 01:59

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Where are the numbers?

It's been nearly a year since the City of Philadelphia commissioned studies looking into the economic impact of the proposed 76 Place at Market East. And those results are still not in.

"Can we get an update on where the studies are for economic impact and community impact?" asked Tavis Dockwiller during a virtual meeting Tuesday of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission discussing the proposed 76ers arena at Market East.

It's something members of the city's Civic Design Review Board also wanted to know. But commission leaders did not share a timeline.

"We're working on final drafts at this moment. And we're working on presenting to the administration to make sure the administration is comfortable with them. So, it's hard to give a final date," Martine DeCamp, the interim director of the commission, said.

Initially expected in December, DeCamp said these reports are very complex and take time to put together. She acknowledged the previous delays during the meeting and didn't want to put another date out there for release.

"I will say we're getting closer and closer, but yeah, we don't have a final date," DeCamp said.

Even without the reports, project leaders are touting what they believe will be the economic benefits of the arena. 76 DevCorp Chairman David Adelman spoke at an event at the Museum of the American Revolution in Old City Tuesday, saying he believes the arena will be a spark for the entire Market East corridor.

"It needs to be a catalyst for people to go out to dinner before the game or after the game and spend money in the city," Adelman said.

He pointed to a $50 million Community Benefits Agreement the Sixers have pledged as part of the project. Adelman also said the team, based on community feedback, added apartments to the top of the arena, 20% of which will be affordable housing.

But during the meeting Tuesday, several members of the public questioned the claims of a positive impact.

READ MORE: Philadelphia 76ers call analysis "fatally flawed" after report shows new arena could cost city $900M in tax revenue 

"The street-level retail in this new plan provides no new additional benefit or jobs than what already exists," said one woman who owns a business in neighboring Chinatown, comparing the jobs situation to that of the current Fashion District.

Without the economic study, the meeting focused heavily on one of the biggest concerns of opponents to the project: traffic. Officials from the 76 Place team updated some of their traffic plans and said they'll add crossing guards and outfit traffic lights around the area with "smart-grid" technology.

Adelman also pointed to other large events in Center City, showing they can keep people and vehicles moving.

"You think about the Flower Show, which gets 100,000 people a day," said Adelman. "I don't hear people not going to the Flower Show or the car show."

But some in Tuesday's meeting weren't swayed by the Sixers' changes.

"It's really hard to tell how circulation, pedestrian circulation, is actually going to function based on the documents you've given us," one concerned resident who lives in nearby Washington Square West said.

Without the economic impact study, it's unlikely city leaders will make a decision on the proposed arena anytime soon. And in the meantime, this debate will continue.

"Just an observation that it speaks to a Market East master plan that's incomplete in total," Dockwiller said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.