Chinatown Coalition Forms to Fight Proposed $1.3B 76ers Arena

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Philadelphia Chinatown residents have formed a formal coalition to fight the 76ers' proposed arena, which coalition organizers say would adversely affect their neighborhood. 

The Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena (CCOA) includes more than 40 Chinatown community groups, nonprofits and business organizations. The group will have assistance from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. 

According to the local ABC affiliate, the coalition said it has obtained signatures of over owners from over 90 businesses that are in opposition to the $1.3 billion arena, which would sit along Market Street between 10th and 11th streets, neighboring Chinatown.

"We're still the small guys here, we've got to do what we can. This is about community, this is not about money," said Harry Leong, president of the Philadelphia Suns, a youth sports and development program.

The coalition is primarily concerned with traffic congestion and a rise in real estate taxes, which they fear could harm small businesses in the area, as well as the people. The neighborhood is home to 21,000 people. 

"This community has been around here for 150 years. We are not stupid. We know that this is a land grab. We know that billionaire developers' interest is taking our land and erasing our community," said Steven Zhu, president of the Chinese Restaurant Association of Greater Philadelphia.

The development company behind the project, 76 Devcorp, said it will "continue to work with community stakeholders to discuss the facts surrounding the arena and how it will positively impact the area." 

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