November 16, 2023
The Philadelphia 76ers have entered into an agreement with parking lot operator Parkway Corp. to accommodate thousands of motorists who would drive to games and events held at the team's proposed arena in Center City.
On Thursday, the team said the deal would allow for the use of technology that lets fans reserve parking spaces in lots near the arena while they purchase tickets. The team expects it will have access to enough lots to meet the anticipated demand of more than 3,100 parking spaces per event.
“By leveraging (Parkway Corp.'s) expertise in parking management, operations, and strategy, we can set new benchmarks for the visitor experience and help mitigate a primary question surrounding the proposed arena," Jon Fascitelli, CEO of 76DevCo., the team's development arm, said Thursday.
Parkway Corp. owns and operates more than a dozen parking lots in Center City, including several within walking distance of the proposed arena site on Market Street between 10th and 11th streets. Other parking lots the 76ers hope to make available to fans are owned by the city and other private companies.
Robert Zuritsky, CEO of Parkway Corp., said the company plans to lend its "technology, expertise, and experience" to the 76ers to address the needs of the arena and surrounding communities.
"This project is vitally important to the revitalization of Market East, the post-pandemic recovery of Center City, and Philadelphia’s economic future," Zuritsky said. "We are confident and committed to working with the 76 Place development team to ensure that 76 Place is a win for all of Philadelphia."
Traffic congestion and parking concerns rank high among the reasons some opponents of the arena think it would have a negative impact on Center City residents, businesses and commuters. The team contends the arena's proposed location above Jefferson Station will incentivize more fans to use SEPTA's public transportation options, compared to the current situation at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.
Demand for parking at the Sports Complex averages about 5,232 parking spaces per game, according to a traffic study commissioned by the team and published last November. Even if the estimate of 3,100 spaces per game at the new arena turns out to be low, the team expects fans to use 29 lots with more than 9,000 total spaces that are within reasonable walking distance.
The 76ers also project about 7,400 fans will take public transit to events at the new arena, which will have a capacity of 18,500 seats. Roughly the same number of fans would carpool to games, and another 3,700 fans would either walk or use ride-sharing services, according to the team's estimates.
About 182 overnight parking spaces would be needed to accommodate the team's proposed residential housing tower at the north end of the site that abuts Chinatown.
The numbers produced by the team are currently being analyzed as part of the city's independent impact studies, which 76ers officials recently told PhillyVoice could be released in December.
76ers part-owner David Adelman met in September with members of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce to discuss various aspects of the arena proposal, including concerns about parking. The AACC has not yet taken a formal position on the arena.
Drake Nakaishi, who serves on the chamber's board, wrote a letter to Adelman after the meeting offering some impressions about the project. The team hopes to open the arena in time for the 2031 season after the 76ers' lease at the Wells Fargo Center expires.
"There is a fear that during the 8 years of construction, the Chinatown area would be landlocked, and traffic would be at a standstill," Nakaishi said in the letter, which was shared by a team spokesperson. "There is more concern about traffic during the construction process than what happens during a game night."
Some local businesses in Chinatown believe a dedicated parking structure might be needed near the arena, especially if the project is going to include apartments, the chamber said.
The partnership with Parkway Corp. was announced ahead of the 76ers' public town hall event on Thursday night from 7-9 p.m. at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown. The event is the first in-person community meeting about the arena since a tense meeting in Chinatown last December. It's also the first in-person public meeting that will be run by the team, which held a series of virtual meetings earlier this year.
The 76ers say their $1.55 billion private investment in the arena's development has been shaped and modified by community feedback the team has received since the project was introduced in July 2022.
“We are looking forward to continuing the dialogue at an in-person community meeting, which will enable us to develop a project that is a win for everybody," said David Gould, the 76ers’ chief diversity and impact officer. "It’s important for us to share our plans and learn more about the priorities and needs of the community."