Spectrum's walls to start tumbling

A lot of sports and music history will go with the walls of the Spectrum as they come down over the next four months.
A lot of sports and music history will go with the walls of the Spectrum as they come down over the next four months.
Posted: November 23, 2010

After nearly a half-century of basketball and hockey games and concerts by the top names in rock and pop, the beloved Spectrum will host one final show Tuesday - the tumbling of its walls.

After speeches at noon by Mayor Nutter and Spectrum officials, a four-ton wrecking ball will pound the facade of the South Philadelphia arena, beginning an exterior demolition expected to take about four months. The gutting of the interior got under way earlier this month.

The public will be able to watch the show - billed as the ceremonial "final blow" - from surrounding parking lots while downing $1 hot dogs and sodas and celebrity-watching. Sports giants Julius Erving of the Sixers and Bob Clarke and Bernie Parent of the Flyers are among those expected to attend.

"The parking lots will be open at 9 a.m. . . . We will have a block party with lots of interactive games for our fans," said Ike Richman, a spokesman for Spectrum owner Comcast-Spectacor. "Souvenirs will be on sale. Our team store will be open. . . . It's lunchtime, so come on down."

Those seeking a keepsake can order commemorative bricks - each on a wood base for $39.95, plus shipping and handling - from the 43-year-old arena.

In a one-day sale Nov. 6, fans emptied the arena of seats, furniture, and other collectibles, paying $25 each to haul away whatever they could carry in a single load.

The razing of the Spectrum will give rise to the first phase of Philly Live!, promoted as a sprawling retail and entertainment hub. According to Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider, the initial one-story structure will house "the world's biggest sports bar," with enough leasable space for four smaller bars and restaurants.

Richman called the Spectrum a sports lover's dream.

"We've had championships there," he said. "We've had lacrosse, roller derby. . . . We've had arena football. We've had professional wrestling, boxing, and concerts. You name it, we've had it all."


Contact staff writer Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.

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