Asian Americans United has formed a coalition to stop the 76ers new arena proposal at Market East
Well, that was quick. A coalition of Chinatown community members is forming against the Philadelphia 76ers proposed arena in Center City at 10th and Market.
Asian Americans United coalition against the 76ers
The group claims that building an arena one black from Chinatown will have a significant impact on their community and that no one from the Philadelphia 76ers have reached out to engage or ask the opinions of any of the community members who came together in the coalition’s first meeting.
“We all share a love and deep commitment to this community which serves as a hub for Chinese and larger Asian communities. We come here to gather with our families, go to church, to go to school, to visit our elders, to practice our cultural heritage. The proposed development would be yet another in a long history of attempts to diminish Chinatown.”
Okay there’s a lot to unpack here. To start, everyone should have known this was coming already.
When the Philadelphia Phillies were considering new sites to build Citizens Bank Park, they floated around the idea of building the stadium downtown, specifically at 12th and Vine. That resulted in Chinatown businesses closing their doors and protesting the potential building plan.
Then back in 2016 when Temple University wanted to build a new stadium in North Philly, there was a group called the “Stadium Stompers” that protested down North Broad.
Literally every single major construction project runs into this type of opposition and I’m confident that for the 76ers, this is just the beginning. Still, I’m honestly not sure if I agree with the AAU on this one. I’m going to need better reasoning from the AAU as to why they oppose the proposal.
The AAU stated that no one reached out to them about the proposal, but why would they? It’s not like they are going to change their stance on the issue anyways and again, everyone knew this was coming. I am a complete moron so maybe I’m missing something here but I really don’t see how this impacts the Chinatown community’s ability to gather with families, go to church and school, and practice their cultural heritage.
The arena, as stated by the AAU, is one block away from Chinatown, not in Chinatown, and I have a hard time believing there is any type of attempt by the Philadelphia 76ers to “diminish Chinatown” with their new proposal. Philadelphia is home to 1.6 million people, and Chinatown is basically in the heart of the city. The Fashion District is a failure. The Gallery failed. The Gallery 2.0 failed. The arena technically isn’t in Chinatown and economic development is needed throughout the city. Anytime there’s plans in place to move the needle forward, we can’t be completely opposed to new proposals.
I’m no expert on these types of topics (or any topics) by any means but building an arena in Center City would inject new life into the “Fashion District” and bring thousands of visitors to the area that will be spending money at all the bars and restaurants in the area, as well as businesses in Chinatown and that doesn’t even include the amount of jobs that would be created to build, maintain, and work inside the new arena.
I’m sorry, but I really need better reasoning than what Asian Americans United has provided so far.
The AAU wrapped their statement by saying the following
“We ask our city government to stand with us on this matter. This is not the first time that big developers proposed to build something without our input: the baseball stadium, the casino, to name a few. We have defeated each one of them. We are ready to fight for our community.”
Side Note: Damn. They couldn’t even mention the Philadelphia Phillies by name and just threw “the baseball stadium” out there. I kind of respect it, honestly. I hate the Phillies too.
Anyways, buckle up everyone because this is only the beginning. As long as we don’t end up with the Philadelphia 76ers playing in Camden then I’m totally fine with any other location. The Navy Yard is still at the top of my list.