SBJ/June 10-16, 2013/Facilities

Sixers looking for architect to design practice facility at Navy Yard site, according to RFP

The Philadelphia 76ers are searching for an architect to design a practice facility proposed for the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which is less than two miles from the Wells Fargo Center, their home arena.

In a request for proposal sent to sports architects and obtained by SportsBusiness Journal, the NBA team says it has identified a vacant lot in the Navy Yard’s Historic Core district to construct a 55,000-square-foot facility. If everything goes as planned, it would open in June 2015.

The facility would include two basketball courts; fitness, training and rehabilitation space; player and coaching staff locker rooms; an audio-video review room; broadcast media facilities; a player lounge; food service; laundry; and 60 surface parking spaces.

The RFP says design of the team’s office space is “expected to reinforce Sixers management’s data-driven approach to decision-making by combining open, interactive office areas with collaborative shared workspace and quieter areas for focused, intensive work.”

Team ownership, including CEO Adam Aron, declined to comment for this story.

Purchase of the 3.3-acre property is pending, and the location is subject to change until a deal is completed, according to the document.

The 76ers have not established a construction budget, but industry sources said it could cost $20 million to $25 million to build the practice facility, based on similar NBA projects.

The team expects to sell naming rights to the facility, as stated in the proposal, and the architect designing the building will coordinate graphics and signs to support the sponsor’s branding.

If the 76ers move ahead with developing the site, they have some regulatory approvals to meet before they can break ground on the project.

At one time a Navy aircraft factory operated on the site, and it is not known whether the land has been evaluated for environmental issues, the document said. As part of the Historic Core, one of seven sections that make up the Navy Yard, the site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The middle third of the site contains a prehistoric archeological area, a designation that triggers oversight by the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission, the RFP says.

The site, though, is ideal for the 76ers considering its proximity to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, site of the Wells Fargo Center. Last summer, most team administrators moved to an office elsewhere in the Navy Yard, but the club’s ticket sales staff remains at the arena. The new training facility would be much more convenient for the team, compared with the 10-mile trip from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s student activity center, where the 76ers have practiced since 1999.

The parcel is one of the Navy Yard’s few remaining undeveloped properties. Urban Outfitters, GlaxoSmithKline and regional snack food company Tastykake have all moved into new and renovated buildings.

Proposals are due June 17, with a selection to be made July 15, the RFP said. Construction would start in January.
Philadelphia-based real estate services company AthenianRazak is the owner’s representative.

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