Chinatown business owners, residents, and other Philadelphians protested the proposed 76ers arena on June 10th, marching through Chinatown and to City Hall. Already named 76 Place at Market East, the arena would be located on Market Street between 10th and 11th streets where Jefferson Station and Fashion District are located. Groups like Students for the Preservation of Chinatown (SPOC) lined up before marching and chanting “We don’t trust the process” and “Serve the needy, not the greedy”.
Recent Central High School graduate Sudi Yang, a member of SPOC, emphasized the detrimental lasting impact that the proposed arena would have on the Chinatown community. “This would ultimately drive many Chinatown small businesses, who have been there for decades, out and cause more chain businesses such as McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts to settle in.”
There is no doubt that the construction of the arena would result in significant road closures, therefore limiting access to Chinatown. Simultaneously, it would exacerbate the air quality, not long after Philadelphia recovered from intense smoke and smog from Canada’s ongoing wildfires.
Sudi added, “Not only that, the value and cost of the land around the arena would increase” which raises the question, is Philadelphia going to allow for its Chinatown to be gentrified after witnessing San Francisco and New York’s Chinatowns under attack?