New Jersey Offers Giant Tax Credit to 76ers to Build Practice Space in Camden

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The State of New Jersey has awarded the Philadelphia 76ers $82 million in tax credits over 10 years to build a practice facility in Camden, New Jersey. The deal has been called one of the most generous in state history.
In a dollar-for-dollar exchange, the Sixers are allowed to recoup their costs, up to $82 million, for construction of a cutting-edge facility that will serve as team headquarters. Slated to occupy 120,000 square feet on Camden’s waterfront, the facility will provide practice space and equipment to the Sixers, and will include two basketball courts, a fitness training and rehabilitation space, player and coaching staff locker rooms, an audio-video review room, broadcast media facilities, a player lounge, support facilities, and office space. Eventually athletic camps for children and other, similar programming may be offered.
“The scope of this project bodes well for both parties,” said Eric Willin, COO of EZFacility, a sports facility management software developer in Woodbury, New York. “The team will benefit from having a state-of-the-art space in which to train and develop as athletes. And Camden will benefit from an influx of new jobs and the presence of a facility that will draw attention and business to a depressed area.”
Officials estimate that the new facility will create 250 new jobs and hope it lures additional developers to the area. A tax revenue-strapped city, Camden could net $76.6 million over 35 years, the state predicts. According to the terms of the deal, made possible by the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the Sixers can use or sell the tax credits from the state as long as they employ 250 people in Camden and stay in the city for 15 years.
Naysayers have questioned how much the facility’s construction will benefit residents and whether a state struggling with budget problems should be offering large-scale tax credits that, in effect, give money away. But supporters are adamant about the facility’s potential to improve the Camden area. “It’s a catalyst for change,” said Camden’s mayor, Dana L. Redd. “I am elated for my city.”