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Students rally against proposed 76ers arena in Chinatown

Protest in West Philly aiming for UPenn to cut ties with Chinatown developers
Protest in West Philly aiming for UPenn to cut ties with Chinatown developers 00:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A group of students protested against the Philadelphia 76ers' proposed arena in Chinatown Friday.

Students for the Preservation of Chinatown were protesting at 36th and Walnut Streets.

The group called on Penn to remove developer David Adelman and Sixers co-owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer as trustees.

The 76 Place arena would sit between 10th and 11th Streets, and Filbert and Market Streets.

Neighborhood residents have packed community meetings in recent months.

The Sixers say they chose a location near Chinatown because it's in the heart of Philadelphia's public transportation hub and they hope to revitalize the area's economy.

The Sixers have released the following statement regarding the arena proposal: 

As we continue to develop a meaningful plan to ensure the arena project can positively impact Philadelphia and its residents, it is disappointing to see some groups claiming to represent the broader interests of the city irresponsibly spreading misinformation about our proposed plans.

Firstly, the arena will not be built in Chinatown; this project will be built in the Fashion District at Market East, a location that was once the center of commerce for Philadelphia for 100 years, on a site that has been a mall for nearly 50 years. Furthermore, in addition to committing $50 million to improve, strengthen and enhance communities around Market East – the largest community benefits agreement in the history of our city – and create jobs for Philadelphians across the city, we have been aggressively pursuing solutions to improve commerce, transit, safety, cleanliness and vibrance, to what has historically been one of the most important hubs in all of Philadelphia, but one that has been struggling for years.

By spreading misinformation and ignoring these facts and the numerous public statements we've made about our intentions, these groups unfortunately also ignore what this private investment will mean for the future of Market East and the city as a whole. It also disregards the feedback we've received from residents and business leaders alike.

Most importantly, the claims expressed by such groups fail to answer critical questions that Philadelphians deserve answers to:

  • What other privately-funded multi-billion dollar project will be proposed to replace the Mall to reestablish Center City as the heartbeat of our region?
  • What is the public safety plan if the Mall is shuttered, and how will safety and cleanliness be addressed if even more retail fronts are left empty in Market East?
  • What other multi-billion dollar project will create over 9,000 jobs?
  • What other community benefits agreement will top $50M in private capital – all for the benefit of the neighborhoods that surround Market East?

This is a critical time in our city and region and we will no longer let these misinformation campaigns go unchecked. We encourage Philadelphians to ask these questions of the groups questioning our commitment. We do not shy away from dialogue and meaningful engagement, but those discussions should be respectful and grounded in facts.

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