When the Sixers announced their plan for their downtown arena, they also announced the existence of 76 Devcorp. A new development corporation headed by David Adelman has been formed to continue efforts to build a stadium at 10th and Market streets.
Adelman is a longtime Philly real estate player — since he was a teenager, for example — and has several ties to the 76ers.
💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia every day.
People at the University of Pennsylvania probably know him from Campus Apartments, the largest student housing company. Adelman has been the company’s CEO for 25 years, but his footprint is even bigger.
Here’s what we know about the man who, if the project goes through, will build the so-called 76 Place at Market East.
Where did he start?
Adelman, 50, was born and raised in Penn Valley, Lower Merion. He is a long-term investor in Philly’s housing stock. Just how long? According to the story, he got his start as a teenager when he gave $2,000 from his bar mitzvah to moneymaker Alan Horwitz to invest in real estate at 45th and Pine streets.
Horwitz, a family friend who mentored young Adelman, is the founder of Campus Apartments. The company started in the late 1950s to serve Penn students, but has expanded across the country.
Many Philadelphians already know Horwitz, whether they realize it or not, as the 76ers Sixth Man, a floor-seat fanatic who is essentially to the Wells Fargo Center what Spike Lee is to Madison Square Garden, minus the director’s background.
in 1997 Adelman succeeded Horwitz as CEO of Campus Apartments and grew his stake from there.
Grandson of a Holocaust survivor, former chairman of the Philadelphia Holocaust Foundation. He also serves on several other boards, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the University City District, Penn Medicine and the USC Shoah Foundation, according to his online biographies.
What stocks does he own now and how rich is he?
Adelman said real estate is his favorite investment, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing other ventures.
He is the CEO of the asset management firm FS Investments (fka Franklin Square Capital Partners), which he founded in 2007. and which is known for its innovative activities in investing through business development companies, vice president. Adelman also founded venture capital firm Darco Capital, which has invested in GoPuff, the 76ers Innovation Lab and Premier League club Crystal Palace.
Campus Apartments, where it all started and where he is still CEO, manages more than $1.5 billion. USD assets in 18 states and more than 50 universities and colleges, according to its website.
Insider estimates that Adelman is worth about $1.6 billion.
What is its role in the University City District?
Adelman helped found the University City District, a special services district that transformed the part of West Philadelphia around Penn and Drexel. Today he is Vice-Chairman of the UCD Board.
In a fact sheet issued when the group first began in 1997, a Penn official described UCD as a community revitalization partnership “of local property owners and other stakeholders to develop and implement a program of cleanup, security and other services” that “serves as advocate for better city services.
In Philadelphia, business improvement districts are funded by fees or charges levied on area property owners or businesses to provide services to the immediate neighborhood. Adelman was initially the area’s biggest private-sector benefactor, according to a profile in Multifamily Executive magazine, contributing half a million dollars over a decade.
Twenty-five years after its founding, UCD hosts events like the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, hosts pop-ups like The Porch at 30th Street, supports the police force, operates the LUCY shuttle bus, and cleans up litter and trash in the neighborhood. UCD has also been cited as a factor in the long and relentless gentrification of the area.
Speaking in a video celebrating UCD’s 20th anniversary, Adelman said “we’ve reached a point where we can focus on the positive” in West Philly, increasing the district’s impact on the city.
That time he was brought to court
As reported by The Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn students have had concerns over the years about Campus Apartments management, citing lax maintenance and other complaints.
in 2013 six students filed a lawsuit over Penn-owned properties managed by Campus Apartments. They cited “absolutely reprehensible conditions,” including mold, rodents and a collapsed bathroom ceiling that Campus Apartments initially claimed was the tenant’s fault, due to a faulty toilet.
The case ended in an undisclosed settlement.
What is Adelman’s role at 76 Devcorp?
Basically, he’s trying to build an arena in Center City.
When Sixers managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer announced their plan to build 76th on a block in Philadelphia’s Fashion District, they said Adelman was given the “mandate to find, design and develop a venue that would be a world-class arena.” .
Adelman will work with Mosaic Development Partners, a local black-owned company, on the project. He expressed the importance of “aggressive diversity hiring goals” and said “there’s no better place in Philadelphia to build an arena than Central City,” praising transit access to the site and surrounding businesses that would benefit.
Some members of the Chinatown community near the proposed site are skeptical of these promises. They fear the arena could increase traffic congestion and increase property values.
“We consider the 76ers’ proposed arena a block away from our beloved neighborhood a threat to the very existence of Chinatown,” wrote Debbie Wei, founder of Asian Americans United, to WHYY’s PlanPhilly. “The 76ers, Adelman and the billionaires and city officials before them don’t recognize that Chinatown will fight for its survival.”
Adelman told The Inquirer that the Sixers’ arena “will not displace any businesses or residents” in Chinatown. He also said the recent expansion project to include the Greyhound bus terminal on Filbert Street could actually reduce traffic in the neighborhood.
“I think now that we’ve had the grand unveiling, now we have to show people that we’re real,” Adelman told Forbes about the 76 Place project. He promised that no public subsidies would be needed.
Once construction and design begin, demolition is scheduled to begin in 2026, with construction continuing in 2028 and the arena opening in 2031. in September.