The Philadelphia 76ers parent company and the Buccini/Polin Group announced construction Wednesday of a 140,000-square-foot, multi-purpose sports complex and youth training center in Wilmington.
The new facility will be builton an 8.9-acre parcel of U.S. Route 13 and Garasches Lane in the riverfront area. The sports complex is designed to be a center for youth sports in Delaware while providing thousands of youth with new sports programs and opportunities.
The facility will be named “76ers Fieldhouse” and will be the new home for the 76ers NBA G League affiliate team, the Delaware 87ers or Sevens.
A formal groundbreaking ceremony is being planned for the first quarter of 2018, with a season ticket deposit campaign for the NBA G League team also set to begin at the start of the new year. The complex is slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The estimated cost is $26 million with the state and city to kick in some of the costs.
New home for the Sevens
The teamwillplay its home games at 76ers Fieldhouse, which will host approximately 2,500 fans per game. Additionally, the 76ers will use their sales and sponsorship expertise to secure partnerships for 76ers Fieldhouse, including naming rights partners.
The venue secures the future of the 87ers. It was feared that the G League team might move to the Lehigh Valley or other areas.
The team’s current home is at the Bob Carpenter Center on the University of Delaware campus. The team’s headquarters is in Wilmington.
“From day one, our hotel has been an active sponsor and host to visiting teams that played the Delaware 87ers. We are proud to have helped with the promotion of NBA professional basketball in Delaware, and the games have been exciting,” said William Sullivan, managing director of the Courtyard by Marriott, University of Delaware.
Sullivan continued, “Our staff welcomed the professional players to Newark, and they all loved coming to Delaware and visiting Newark’s famous Main Street. We are pleased that the 87ers will now have a brand new home of their own in Wilmington, and we are excited to see the plans to not only have the great arena but to also enabling the team and facility to better engage with the youth of the community. A win for sure for all! All the best to our great friends, the Delaware 87ers. “
A regional fan base for 76ers
“The Philadelphia 76ers are truly the Delaware Valley’s team, and we’re fortunate to have an incredible fanbase across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. We are thrilled to partner with BPG on 76ers Fieldhouse in Delaware to serve as home to both our NBA G League team and hundreds of youth teams and athletes each year,”76ers President Chris Hecksaid. “We’ve set out to create a facility in a city on the rise like Wilmington for our NBA G League team that furthers the 76ers’ commitment to being leaders in sports performance and athlete care.We’re fortunate to partner with a group as respected and accomplished as BPG to reach this goal, while also bringing these amenities to youth teams and athletes in this area. With the support of Delaware Governor John Carney, Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki and our fans across the state, we’re excited to further demonstrate our commitment to Delaware by launching 76ers Fieldhouse.”
“This announcement by the 76ers organization confirms again that Wilmington is a great place for companies to invest, expand, and grow,” saidGov. John Carney. “We couldn’t be more excited to help announce the new 76ers Fieldhouse, which will bring an NBA G League team to our city, and help connect development along the banks of the Christina River. Importantly, this facility will create jobs, expand opportunities for kids in Wilmington to participate in sports activities, and attract even more visitors to our great state. Thank you to the 76ers organization and the Buccini/Pollin Group for their commitment to Delaware, and their continued partnership.”
Mayor praises decision
“We are proud to welcome the 76ers and their G league team to the City of Wilmington. The new sports facility will be among the finest in the country for a city our size. This fieldhouse, larger than the Chase Center, will be an outstanding venue for the Delaware sports-hungry public,” statesWilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “This also answers our residents call for healthy options for our kids. Wilmington’s children will be primary beneficiaries of the many levels of programming provided by this magnificent facility. Our gratitude to Buccini/Pollin and the 76ers organization for placing their faith in our great city.”
The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) will manage the development and construction of the facility on the site, which is currently owned by the Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC), and sits at the foot of the new Christina River Bridge that will ultimately connect both banks of the Christina Riverfront.
“This new facility will be the impetus for the development we have envisioned on the East bank of the Christina River,” says Megan McGlinchey, executive director of the RDC. “The location delivers an excellent gateway into Wilmington and the Riverfront. Plus, we are thrilled that the Delaware 87ers will now join the growing list of successful family-friendly attractions already located here.”
The other partner in the project is Harris Blitzer. Founded by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment includes in its portfolio the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Devils, the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ., the GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center, the Binghamton Devils, the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, and esports franchise Team Dignitas.
Youth athletics focus of site
In addition to the arrival of the 76ers Fieldhouse, the complex will support youth athletic training sessions as well as youth basketball,soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, football and other sport competitions through its dynamic mixed-use program includingthree full-sized, professional basketball courts, two indoor turf soccer fields, a world-class sports performance and athletic training area, as well as retail and office space.
Tenants who are planning to offer services at the 76ers Fieldhouse include TITUS, which will bring its performance training center to the complex and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children part of the Nemours Children’s Health System, which will bring its advanced Sports Medicine capabilities, including pediatric orthopedics and sports physical therapy, to the facility.
Nemours and Titus will add training, sports medicine
Titus Sports Academy, founded in 2001, focuses on long-term athletic development and optimization through training, nutrition and recovery plans based on specific needs of each sport, level or mission. TITUS utilizes technological assessment, evaluation and management tools that allow all athletes the opportunity to improve.
“We are excited to share in this unique opportunity and vision which combines elite-level programs, a world-class facility and positive community impact,” says Shawn Hoffman, managing partner at Titus Sports.
Nemours is an a children’s health system that owns and operates the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, along with outpatient facilities in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, delivering pediatric primary, specialty, and urgent care. Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. duPont,
“The building of the 76ers Fieldhouse is a very welcome addition to the ever-expanding and evolving Wilmington Riverfront. Nemours Children’s Health System is proud to be a part of this new venture in Wilmington. We look forward to expanding our superior and compassionate pediatric care with this new location in Wilmington,” says Roy Proujansky, MD, chief executive of Delaware Valley Operations, Nemours Children’s Health System.
Complex available for events and field use
The 76ers Fieldhouse will be available for events and field use by local and regional sports clubs and competitions as well. Local youth organizations will be able to practice, train and play soccer, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, football and other sports here, for both competitive and community outreach purposes.
Future Soccer Stars Foundation (FSS), a nonprofit providing free soccer programs for economically disadvantaged children in the City of Wilmington (www.fssfoundation.org), and the Delaware Football Club (DEFC) which includes Delaware Rush, Delaware Union, and Kirkwood Soccer players (www.delawarefc.org), are two such organizations that work both independently and collaboratively to enhance youth soccer in the region, and have both committed to this facility as their home.
DEFC is the product of a long-term vision by its member clubs to create a recognizable soccer pathway for children in Delaware and surrounding states.
It is designed to allow young players to move from recreation soccer through competitive club and high school soccer with the greatest opportunity to play in college and even professional soccer. “This is all done from the state of Delaware,” stated Ian Hennessey who serves as both the head men’s coach at the University of Delaware and the technical director at DEFC. “DEFC is providing opportunities for families, who sometimes feel the need to leave the state to find a similar pathway. This new facility will help DEFC make these opportunities a reality.”
“The Fieldhouse and its partners, and specifically the full-sized soccer fields, will provide FSS the environment and room to house its fast-growing programs and annual events,” says Oliver Yeh, who serves as Board Chair at FSS. “In addition, FSS will have the capacity to run a centralized youth soccer league for the City of Wilmington. It will be a safe place for children to play, a home that will stoke a communal hometown pride and a place where aspirations can grow to great heights.”
The Buccini/Pollin Group has engaged arena specialists Rossetti Architects of Detroit, MI to design the 76ers Fieldhouse.
“I am gratified by the Sixers decision to be part of this transformative project for Wilmington,” says Rob Buccini, co-president, and co-founder of The Buccini/Pollin Group. “Their confidence and commitment are affirmations that Wilmington continues to move in the right direction. In addition to providing sports, training and health services for youth in our city and throughout the region, the facility will be a significant economic generator. With the addition of tournaments and associated visitors, the 76ers Fieldhouse will positively impact the local economy.”
For future information on field use reservations, events, and other ways to support the 76ers Fieldhouse visit www.76ersfieldhouse.com.