Why city’s trade unions supports 76 Place Market East Arena Project

By Ryan Boyer

The Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council is composed of 50 unions that represent thousands of members who earn their living, feed their families and build their future based upon union construction and development in the Philadelphia region. We — literally — build this city and are committed to projects that provide large-scale benefits to our neighborhoods and communities.

That’s why we are proud to support the 76 Place Market East Arena Project.

The arena has the potential to change the economic landscape of Philadelphia. By revitalizing the Market East area, a section of the city that has languished, largely vacant and underutilized for decades, the $1.3 billion 76 Place project will generate almost 10,000 union construction jobs and 1,000 permanent positions. The project will stimulate the local and regional economy and provide benefits that will be felt in every corner of our city.
The 76ers’ proposed new arena not only has the potential to reinvigorate the economic landscape of Philadelphia, but it also has the potential to create a new face of what the construction industry can look like. Equitable union employment opportunities coupled with sustainable construction practices will not only make this project important to the city’s development efforts, but it will set the standard for major city downtown revitalization across the country.

The 76 Place arena project will stimulate the local and regional economy and provide benefits that will be felt in every corner of our city. The developers have committed a historic $50 million of direct community benefit to the city and our neighborhoods.

They have also committed to achieving an unprecedented level of diversity, equity and inclusion for job creation, training and hiring for minority residents, as well as large contracts for minority business community members. This will result in a major boost for historically underserved communities across Philadelphia and millions of dollars in desperately needed tax revenue that will benefit the entire city.

At a time when the city is rebounding from the devastating economic effects of the COVID pandemic, we have the opportunity to replace vacant storefronts and empty blocks with a vibrant sports and entertainment venue. 76 Place will also be sustainably built, leveraging the latest green building techniques and standards.

A Center City-based venue will offer increased accessibility and convenience and will serve as a major draw for local businesses. As opposed to limiting the economic benefits to a relatively isolated section of the city, 76 Place will allow local Center City businesses to benefit from the influx of visitors and patrons.

The economic benefits are truly limitless. The building trades provide family-sustaining wages, state-of-the-art training, health care, retirement with dignity and many other benefits. A strong partnership between developers, the business community and building trade unions can create community wealth. We will build on this, through partnership with the 76ers, the General Building Contractors Association, and other developers through efforts such as Everybody Builds — a new initiative which will invest in growing the capacity of diverse contractors and construction workers long before shovels go into the ground.

For this and many other reasons, the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, on behalf of our 50 member unions, thousands of members, and their families, is pleased to wholeheartedly support the 76 Place Market East Arena Project. We look forward to breaking ground on this project and can’t wait for the entire city to begin to reap the benefit.

Ryan Boyer is the business manager of the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council, an umbrella organization for more than 50 member local unions that work in the construction industry in the Greater Philadelphia region.