It may not have been a literal groundbreaking – the complex construction is well underway – but the ceremonial groundbreaking of the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington drew a crowd, even as the temperature neared 90 degrees on Wednesday.
The folding chairs set up in neat rows (under a tent that did nothing to quell the heat) didn’t even begin to accommodate the journalists from around the region, public servants and community members present.
Everyone stayed through the long roster of speakers, all essential contributors to the project, even if their view was blocked by the crowd.
The 2,500-seat multi-purpose arena will span 140,000 square feet at 401 Garasches Lane in the Riverfront area. Including several million in taxpayer dollars by way of public funding from the Department of Transportation, the City of Wilmington and the State of Delaware, the five-story project is projected to cost a total of $26 million.
Special guests included Governor John Carney; Wilmington Mayor Michael S. Purzycki; Megan McGlinchey, Executive Director of Riverfront Wilmington Development Corporation; Wilmington City Council President Hanifa Shabazz; Chris Heck, 76ers President of Business Operations; Malcom Turner, President of NBA G League; Larry Meli, President of Delaware Blue Coats; Elton Brand, General Manager of Delaware Blue Coats; Robert Buccini, Co-President of The Buccini/Pollin Group; and Michael Hare, Executive Vice-President of the Buccini/Pollin Group.
Watch Robert Buccini’s speech below to learn all about the evolution of the project.
The 76ers Fieldhouse will be the home of home to the 76ers’ NBA G League Team, the Delaware Blue Coats (formerly the Delaware 87ers, who played on the University of Delaware Campus), as well as Nemours Physical Therapy Clinic, Titus Sports Academy and Future Soccer Stars Foundation.
One of the primary aims of the project is to expand athletic programs for Wilmington youth, as well as bringing Delaware’s professional basketball team to the city, in its own stadium.
If you want to see the Fieldhouse construction yourself, it can be seen from South Market Street/Route 13 just past Kenny’s ShopRite on the left (traveling south).
The project is projected to be finished around December. Follow the Blue Coats on Twitter for updates.-30-