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Philadelphia's Spectrum to be demolished @NHLdotcom

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Wachovia Spectrum, the former home to the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers, will close and be demolished next year.

Arena owner Comcast-Spectacor, which announced the plan Tuesday, has plans to replace it with a complex of shops, bars, restaurants and a hotel. The 42-year-old arena, slated to shut down next spring, had been used for Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers games until the adjacent Wachovia Center was built and opened in l996.

The Spectrum is currently home to a minor league hockey team, the Philadelphia Phantoms, and an indoor soccer team, the Philadelphia Kixx.

Comcast-Spectacor is in discussions to relocate the Phantoms to another facility in time for the 2009-10 season.

The future of the Kixx is clouded because its league, the Major Indoor Soccer League, shut down in May. The league is trying to restart in a new form sometime before the 2008-09 season.

An Arena Football League team, the Philadelphia Soul, also occasionally plays games in the Spectrum.

Comcast-Spectacor, a unit of cable giant Comcast Corp., owns the Flyers, 76ers, Phantoms, the Wachovia Center and the Wachovia Spectrum. It also runs arenas around the country and has food service, ticketing and advertising interests.

Comcast-Spectacor was started by Ed Snider - founder of the Flyers, chairman of the 76ers and co-founder of what is now Comcast's local sports channel.

"This has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make," said Snider, Comcast-Spectacor's chairman. "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 2008-09 Philadelphia Phantoms and Kixx seasons."

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