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To Avert The Jinx, New Comcast Skyscraper Will Also Be Topped By Mini-William Penn

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(This eight-inch replica of the William Penn statue on City Hall is welded to the top beam of the Comcast Center, currently Philadelphia's tallest building.  Image provided by Comcast)

(This eight-inch replica of the William Penn statue on City Hall is welded to the top beam of the Comcast Center, currently Philadelphia’s tallest building. Image provided by Comcast)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Comcast’s plans for a second, even taller, skyscraper in center city Philadelphia (see related story) once again includes a place at the top for Billy Penn.

The miniaturized statue of William Penn that stands atop the current tallest building in Philadelphia (see photo) is considered by many superstitious sports fans to be the phantom force that broke a 25-year curse on local sports teams.

The curse  was believed to have been created when developers in 1983 defied a longstanding gentleman’s agreement not to build anything taller than the original Penn statue atop City Hall.

Comcast executive vice president David Cohen reversed the mojo after the 58-story Comcast Center was topped off in 2007.

“We had a lot of fun putting a William Penn statue on top of the Comcast Center when it was topped off as the tallest building in Philadelphia,” Cohen recalls, “and then we had even more fun when the Phillies won the World Series.”

That little statue will stay where it is.  Cohen says a new one will be welded to the top of the new building. Its exact location still to be determined.

“We don’t know exactly where we’re putting it. We’ll have to wait for the design to be completed, but it will be on the highest-placed steel girder of the building,” Cohen said.

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