One of the things you’ve heard from Comcast in recent months is this idea of redoing the South Philly sports complex and making it into an updated, world-class destination for sports and entertainment. It coincides, purposely or not, with the Sixers announcing their 2031 departure from the Wells Fargo Center, and the corresponding effort to build 76 Place on Market Street, and after some scuttlebutt behind the scenes, Comcast released this week the first renderings for what they have planned:

Note that the six images say “phase 1.” They plan to do this thing in two parts, and phase 1 includes upgrades to Xfinity Live, a 5,000 seat concert venue, a hotel, new retail and restaurants, and an outdoor plaza. They aim to finish the Xfinity upgrades in 2025 or early 2026, and then concert venue, retail, restaurants, and hotel are slated for 2028.

Phase 2 is a TBD 10 year type of project that could include a new live/work/play district, featuring more retail and restaurants, residences, office space, and green space.

In a statement, Chairman and CEO Dan Hilferty said the following:

Obviously there’s a lot to unpack here, and now we’ve got separate designs for Market Street and South Philly and more to consider when it comes to the Sixers/Comcast thing. If the future is the Sixers downtown and the Flyers, Phillies, and Eagles remaining at an upgraded sports complex, then maybe that works for everyone. Maybe it’s not an either/or proposition. The Sixers get what they want, which is control of their schedule and a venue they own, instead of being renters. And Comcast leads the transformation of the sports complex, which replaces a bunch of bland parking lots with a walkable, mixed-use type of district that has restaurants and green space and retail and everything else that other cities get to enjoy.

No matter what you think about the Sixers or Comcast, you have to admit that this entire conversation over the Wells Fargo Center now has both sides thinking big and talking about the future. No more classic Philadelphia small beans bullshit. We’ve been driving to the same place and parking in the same spots for decades now. I think we’re often guilty in this area of saying “no” to everything because we like the status quo, but the butting of heads between Comcast and HBSE has resulted in a lot of ideation and discussion and that’s always a good thing. Ultimately there’s an opportunity here for a more modern and enjoyable experience for fans of all four teams currently playing in the complex. That’s my early take on this news.