By Tim Jimenez and Al Novack
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There was a lot of looking up in Center City Sunday as crews and a helicopter began the process of changing a part of the Philadelphia skyline. But, after hours of work, the job is far from finished.
The process of removing the letters began around 7am Sunday morning. Police blocked off streets around City Hall and the 28-story building, and workers prepped the roof top letters.
A huge helicopter arrived around 9:30am, lowered a long cable with hooks and removed the first letter from the roof top.
One by one, the PNB letters, weighing 3,000 pounds each, were taken away from the high-rise.
“How often do you get to watch helicopters lift parts of a building off a roof and down into the street in front of you?” said Chuck from Havertown. He was one of dozens who gathered in Love Park to watch and snap pictures on their phones and tablets of this change to a staple of the Center City skyline.
“(It’s) the future – going forward, but it’s also sadness, because something you’ve been used to forever is disappearing,” he said.
Those 12-16 foot high letters first appeared atop the “One South Broad” building when Philadelphia National Bank took over ownership in the 1950s.
Philadelphia National Bank became Corestates and its lineage now leads to Wells Fargo. Company spokeswoman Barbara Nate said they occupy one-third of the building and are in charge of the maintenance of the letters. She said they decided to take them down after finding them to be in bad shape after an inspection. The original plan was to remove all 12 letters, four sets of PNB, but Nate said crews found the letters to be more fragile than they originally thought so they had to stop after removing the set facing South.
As of now, Nate said it is not known when work will continue and she would not comment on the fluctuating costs of such a task, which requires FAA approval and permits from the city.
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