The plan for 76ers Arena includes the entire renovation of the Fashion District mall

When the Philadelphia 76ers announced their intention to build a new arena on a site occupied by a portion of the Fashion District Philadelphia, the future of the Center City shopping mall was immediately called into question.

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Bisno / Matthew Rothstein

76ers Devcorp CEO David Adelman and Harris-Blitzer Sports and Entertainment CEO Tad Brown speak with reporters about the proposed site for the new Philadelphia 76ers arena.

This question was answered by the Arena Project leaders on a walking tour with reporters on Friday. 76 Devcorp, the 76 company formed to oversee the project, will purchase the western third of the three-block Fashion District from joint venture owners Macerich and PREIT. In this place will be the arena of 1.3 billion dollars, planned for delivery in 2031 with the working title 76 places.

Harris-Blitzer Sports and Entertainment CEO Tad Brown and 76 Devcorp CEO David Adelman said the remaining two blocks will be redeveloped in the Fashion District, integrating the arena connection and reimagining the property’s retail mix and outer street connection. Bisno on tour. The Sixers will have strategic input into the details of the redevelopment, including tenant selection.

After PREIT completed the development of the 850K SF Fashion District in late 2019 with Macerich as equity partner, the mall has not yet fully leased or performed according to expectations, and its fate is closely linked to the outbreak of the epidemic in early 2020.

“It’s one in the afternoon on a Friday, and there’s not much going on here,” Adelman said while standing at the lobby level of the Fashion District. “It should be asked: If we don’t do this arena, what will happen to the mall?”

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Bisno / Matthew Rothstein

The western block of the Fashion District Philadelphia, with store doors closed and windows blacked out, is seen from 10th Street and Market Street on November 18, 2022.

As of the third quarter, Fashion District was 82% leased and is among the worst-performing malls in PREIT’s portfolio in terms of net operating income, according to the company’s quarterly report.

In December 2020, PREIT ceded the Fashion District to Macerich in exchange for Macerich’s help in paying off an onerous debt load – debts that still hang over PREIT and threaten its survival. Adelman said that PREIT was not involved in negotiations about the stage and costumes.

The Fashion District runs along the north side of Market Street from 8th Street to 11th Street in a subsection of Center City called Market East. Along the south side is a line of one- and two-story retail properties, many of which are board-mounted and have been around for years. No aspect of the market, Adelman and Brown said, inspires so much street-level vibrancy.

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Bisno / Matthew Rothstein

The SEPTA Regional Rail Platforms are located less than 200 feet from where the basketball court will be in the Philadelphia 76ers’ plan for an arena at the Fashion District Philadelphia site.

HSBE and 76 Devcorp plan to surround the plaza itself with entertainment-focused dining and retail that opens onto the street, and replace the locked back doors of the inward-facing mall tenants with street-facing uses. To the north of Market Street, seating for the planned arena will extend above Filbert Street, which will be closed to pedestrians and covered by the building to create a pedestrian walkway.

“The goal is to create an environment on the street where you don’t even know if there’s a game going,” said Adelman, who is also a minority owner of the 76ers after buying a stake in HBSE from Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin.

Indoors, access to the planned arena will be much smoother. In addition to the planned mall connection, 76 Place will incorporate the redeveloped Jefferson Station, one of two city center hubs for SEPTA’s regional rail system. This redevelopment would not include rerouting any railway lines, although the nearest platform is less than 200 feet from where the courthouse itself is.

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