The Philadelphia 76ers have settled on a hometown connection, choosing one of the city’s most prominent real estate businessmen to lead the development of their proposed downtown arena project.
Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment (HBSE), which owns the team, is tapping Campus Apartments CEO David Adelman to lead 76 Devcorp, which will develop the privately-funded multipurpose arena at an expected cost of nearly $1.3 billion. The project will be completed for the 2031-2032 NBA season, according to the team, and groundbreaking isn’t expected for several years.
Adelman, who also is founder of Darco Capital and co-founder of FS Investments, has been appointed chairman of 76 Devcorp. The billionaire Philly-based entrepreneur will lead the effort in developing the new sports and entertainment arena, currently named 76 Place, which will anchor Center City and be located at the current site of Fashion District Philadelphia.
“Quite simply put, there is no better place to build an arena in Philadelphia than in Center City, with its robust public transit infrastructure and existing dynamic businesses eager to serve fans and visitors alike,” Adelman said in a statement. “76 Devcorp is inspired by many successful sports and entertainment arenas built in dense urban centers that promote integration with the surrounding communities.”
Adelman’s duties include designing and developing the 76ers’ next home, which will be approximately four miles north of the Wells Fargo Center where the team plays now. That building is owned by Comcast Spectacor, which also owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. Their lease is set to expire in 2031.
The news ends speculation about where the one of the NBA’s oldest teams will play in the future as HBSE has its sights set on heading downtown. It will be a new chapter for the 76ers, which are valued at $2.67 billion, according to Sportico’s NBA valuations. HBSE says it spent over two years evaluating potential sites before Fashion District was ultimately chosen as its preferred location. Adelman has led various real estate projects around the city and nationwide.
76 Devcorp has pledged to make the new arena an equitable development with a focus on investing in under-resourced communities. It will collaborate with black-owned, Philadelphia-based real estate development company Mosaic Development Partners, which received a $10 million investment from 76ers managing partner Josh Harris in January.
HBSE, which also owns the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, recently closed on an investment deal with private equity firm Arctos Sports Partners in an agreement that valued the parent company at $3 billion.