Although the Philadelphia Union have called Chester home for a decade now, the city is seemingly just beginning to reap the economic benefits of having a Major League Soccer franchise, writes Kenneth Burns for WHYY.
When Talen Energy Stadium was built, it was touted as a kickstarter for Chester. The expectation was that it would become a destination, and new residences, shops, and restaurants would soon follow.
These benefits, however, were slow to materialize, due in part to the Great Recession.
Change is now afoot.
Patricia Demiranda, a lifelong Chester resident, said she’s seeing some new businesses opening in the city.
“Ten years ago, it was a ghost town,” she said. “Nobody even drove down the City of Chester. Now, you can drive down there. They have businesses that are opening up.”
One of which is Power Home Remodeling. Asher Raphael, the company’s co-CEO, said it relocated to Chester from Newark, Del., because of logistics, but he admitted soccer was also a factor.
“One of the draws was the soccer stadium,” said Raphael, who played the sport while at American University. “It was like it was calling to us.”
In partnership with the Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County, the Union are looking at proposals for future development.
“I can imagine a sports-and-entertainment kind of health and wellness hub that does have a multisport facility,” said Tim McDermott, the Union’s chief business officer. “That can be a natural first step, where kids can play soccer or lacrosse or volleyball or what have you.”
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