PHILADELPHIA, PA-The Spectrum, former home to the last championship teams Flyers and 76ers, will close its doors after the 2008-2009 seasons of the hockey and indoor soccer seasons, according to the Comcast-Spectacor. The Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm, which owns the arena, will close the Spectrum after 41 years.

“This could be a positive development for Philadelphia. When it gets built it will have a positive effect on Philadelphia,” Jonathon Stavin, first vice president of CB Richard Ellis, tells “Comcast-Spectacor certainly has the experience and money to make the site profitable.”

The Fliers and 76ers spent nearly 30 years at Spectrum, and then moved to the close by Wachovia Center in 1996. The minor league hockey team the Phantoms and the indoor soccer team the Kixx currently play home games at the arena, but will need to find new places to play after 2009.

Calls to Comcast-Spectacor were not returned by deadline, but a release declared the decision had not yet been made whether the arena will be imploded or demolished by other means. Comcast-Spectacor revealed plans to create a new complex for retail and entertainment called Philly Live! in the Spectrum space, however further details were not provided. This project could include a hotel, restaurant, bars and retail stores.

Stavin says with the current economy he’s “less confident” in the need expanded retail space in Philadelphia. “I see the need for more hotel sites. As a hotel, it could attract business from sports, travelers and the new convention center. With the three new arenas, the Spectrum site is more valuable as a hospitality, retail or entertainment site than an arena now. A hotel there would offer proximity to the three sports arenas, the airport and the Navy Yard,” he says.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Ed Snider, Comcast-Spectacor chairman, says in a prepared statement. “The Spectrum is my baby. It’s one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me, but after a lot of thinking and discussions, we all feel it is in our best interest to close the Spectrum at the conclusion of the upcoming 2008-2009 Philadelphia Phantoms and Kixx seasons.”

Stavin continues that “we need to see more details on what they mean by retail. Will it be a mall, a big box retailer or an entertainment district? Spectrum is easy to access with an automobile, but more retailers are interested in foot traffic. Would this be a destination for foot traffic?”

Message boards were mostly split about the news. Some felt Spectrum is “old, ugly and obsolete” while others expressed fond memories of watching sports, entertainment or live music at the area. “The Spectrum just isn’t modern, but it’s also not an eyesore,” Stavin continues. “It doesn’t hit people in the face with lights like some other stadiums or buildings. There’s a sentimentality for the arena for people in Philly. We have a lot of truly historic buildings that need to be preserved. The Spectrum does not fit those requirements to me.”

Since nothing is finalized, Stavin says he hasn’t put too much thought into the Spectrum site. “This is still fairly far off in the future. It’s not next week or next month. This project has a ways to go. It’s just in the formulation stage.”

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