New Sports Facilities in Philadelphia

November 9, 2021

Philadelphia’s dynamic athletic venues regularly host local, national, and international sporting competitions. With new recreational and sporting developments on the horizon, including revitalized park space and a groundbreaking esports facility, Philadelphia further cements its status as a top global sports destination.

Arlen Specter US Squash Center

Arlen Specter US Squash Center. Rendering courtesy of US Squash.

The Arlen Specter US Squash Center serves as the new headquarters for US Squash, founded in Philadelphia in 1904 and based in the city from 1978 until 2006. The nation’s premier squash facility also houses the US Squash Hall of Fame and occupy the 33rd Street Armory building on Drexel University’s campus. The 65,000-square-foot space will add 20 courts to existing Drexel courts and those available at the University of Pennsylvania, bringing the total number of courts within a 3-block radius in University City to 37. A Learning & Innovation Center is also part of the project, focusing on engaging and educating the local community via its award-winning SquashSmarts program.

To learn more about the Arlen Specter US Squash Center, click here.

The Block Esports Campus

Localhost at The Block, NEC 2021 Tournament. Photo by S. Belkowitz, courtesy of Nerd Street Gamers.

Philadelphia continues to invest in its increasingly popular esports community with a first-of-its-kind esports campus set to open along North Broad Street, just blocks from the Pennsylvania Convention Center and other downtown attractions. Named The Block, the 40,000-square-foot facility will occupy the historic, 12-story Terminal Commerce Building and will house the headquarters for Philadelphia-based esports infrastructure company, Nerd Street Gamers, as well as the group’s broadcast and content creation studios.

Also included in The Block will be a 20,000-square-foot space dedicated to Localhost Philadelphia, which will be home to esports practice centers for local teams and schools, as well as local and national, amateur and professional esports events. To learn more about The Block, click here.

Cobbs Creek Golf Course Restoration

One of the nation’s most well-regarded public golf courses is in the process of being restored. Designed by legendary course architect Hugh Wilson and host to the 1920 U.S. Public Links Championship, the Cobbs Creek Golf Course closed in the fall of 2020 to begin a $20 million renovation project to restore the course to its former glory while creating a destination that rivals public courses in other major cities.

Improvements to the 350-acre course will include a state-of-the-art driving range and a replaced clubhouse, with an estimated completion and reopening date of June 2023. The Cobbs Creek Restoration and Community Foundation will also be partnering with youth development organization First Tee to teach children lessons on leadership, responsibility, and hard work, and will also be driving hands-on learning via a new Science Learning and Observation Center, among other community-focused efforts. The project will also create 40 acres of new wetlands and aims to help heal the Creek’s waterways. To learn more, click here.

New Philadelphia Youth Basketball Facility in Nicetown

Alan Horwitz Sixth Man Center Court Rendering. Courtesy of Philadelphia Youth Basketball.

Set to break ground in 2021, the Alan Horwitz “Sixth Man” Center, powered and operated by Philadelphia Youth Basketball, will be a new youth basketball facility in North Philadelphia’s Nicetown neighborhood, housed in a repurposed, 100,000-square-foot industrial building. The Center will be the new home for Philadelphia Youth Basketball, a community and youth empowerment organization, and will feature seven basketball courts, five classrooms, a healthy food commissary, 1,200-seat stadium court, 80-person civic dialogue arena, health and wellness oasis, financial literacy workshop, and more. The space will also provide operating space for eight small businesses and will support the local community by way of part-time and hourly job, internship, and apprenticeship opportunities.

The project is partially funded by and named for Philadelphia businessman and Philadelphia 76ers “superfan” Alan Horwitz, who is a regular fixture courtside for all Sixers home games. To learn more about the project, click here.

Athletic Fields at a Reimagined FDR Park

Rendering shows an aerial view of the reimagined park
FDR Park Master Plan rendering courtesy of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy are spearheading a $200 million project to renovate and transform South Philadelphia’s 348-acre Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Park – the first major investment in the park since the addition of a golf course in the 1930s. The Master Plan for FDR Park includes the addition of 12 multipurpose, state-of-the-art athletic fields, each equipped with lighting and synthetic surfaces to enhance and increase playing time while reducing the level of maintenance required.

Other highlights include the addition of basketball courts to the park for the first time, updated tennis courts, and a 3.1-mile trail (dubbed the Franklin 5k) that loops throughout the park and connects visitors with its natural beauty. A new Gateway space at the corner of Broad and Pattison will welcome park visitors while serving as a central hub for information, rentals, concessions, and more. An Ecological Core complements the other elements, offering improved natural spaces and environmental experiences throughout FDR Park in four distinct zones: The Lakes, The Wetland, The Marsh, and The Hill. To learn more about FDR Park’s transformation and to view more of the Master Plan, click here.

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