Wanamaker Renovates Entrance way to Office Building, and now Sign Boy is gone

The owners of the Wanamaker building are nearing the completion of a renovation to the landmark Center City building across from City Hall. Over the past 4 years Rubenstein Partners and Amerimar Enterprises Inc. have renovated office space, the gym, the 9th floor event space, the lobby of the office portion of the building and now the sidewalk and curbside landscaping . Above is the Passero’s Coffee Roasters and cafe. Before the renovation the coffee counter used to be located on the west side of the space before moving to it’s current location on the north wall.

Everyone’s favorite landmark, the Sign Boy, located at Juniper and Market Streets in front of the Wanamaker Building, was designed by sculptor Thomas Miles in 1994 (Photo by Wally Gobetz)
The sidewalk and landscape renovation started during the pandemic. I shot the Sign Boy with his mask on last spring.

On the fence were several drawings depicting what the area would look like after the renovation. I didn’t see the Sign Boy? I thought maybe it was mistake, and he would show up somewhere else on the property. I waited for 6 months for the completion to see.

Every couple weeks I would stop by the construction site to check on Sign Boy, and indeed he disappeared.

I would ask the construction workers if they had seen him, and they had no idea where he was.
Where is he? I bet McGillin’s Olde Ale House would add him to their collection of iconic Philly items.
The entrance way was coming together and looked nice.

A few weeks ago I visited again and a new sign was installed, big bold and lit at night.

Yesterday I stopped by and grabbed these shots, the sidewalk looks beautiful and distinct. There are benches built into the wall on the right where people are sitting. It was really very nice, but no Sign Boy in sight.

But I guess there was a problem with the new sign as it was missing yesterday as seen on right.
Maybe they’ll return The Sign Boy?

Probably not. We’ll miss you sign boy.
(I’m hoping someone can look into where he went. I wrote an email to
the Association of Public Art. Crossing fingers they know. The Parkway could use a few more signs.)

The missing Sign Boy reminds me of the story of the Umbrella Man statue which used to reside outside the Prince Theater Created by J. Seward Johnson, it stood at 17th and Locust before it was donated to the Prince theater by Joseph Shine (according to the Philly Weekly in 2005) on Chestnut Street near Broad. I wrote about it in 2015 on PhillyChitChat. After years of financial problems the theater was put up for sale, but to pay off debts a lot of the theater was sold off to pay bills. My source tells me that since the Umbrella Man was donated to the Prince Theater owners, they had the right to sell it and they did. I hear they sold the $120,000 work of art for a mere $25,000. Let us weep now. (PhillyChitChat)