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Uncertainty Remains About Removal Of PNB Letters From City Skyline

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This past weekend’s attempt to remove the famed “PNB” letters from atop the One South Street Broad building was halted with only letters on one side taken away. Now, officials are trying to figure out what to do next.

The PNB letters were being removed out of public safety concerns, but after a helicopter hauled away three of letters, officials determined that even that operation was too risky. Barbara Nate is spokesperson for Wells Fargo Bank, which rents space in the One South Broad Street building and is responsible for the signage.

“It turned out that the letters were actually more fragile than we anticipated,” Nate said. “And the sign company made the determination that they had to halt the project because they were concerned about the safety of continuing.”

Now, the sign company and the city must determine whether the operation can, at some point, even resume.

“We have to regroup with the sign company,” said Nate, “and understand their analysis of the situation, and what is the best and safest way to proceed.”

So there’s no time frame, and Nate said even if they do resume the helicopter removal of the letters, that would be weeks or months off.

“That’s still a very lengthy project to schedule,” she said, “because of the street closures required, FAA approval, securing and booking a helicopter.”

So for the time being, only the south side of the building will be without those letters.

“No matter which way we proceed, I don’t anticipate that it is going to be relatively soon,” Nate said. “It’s not a project you can pick up and say, ‘we’ll get back to this tomorrow.'”

The One South Street Building dates from 1932. It was purchased by PNB, Philadelphia National Bank, 20 years later.

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