The Power Fifty 2009

What This List Is: Our ranking of the most influential Philadelphians. What This List Isn’t: A rehash of the usual suspects

11. Brian Roberts, transformational

CEO, Comcast
2005: 11 :: 2000: 9

Roberts, 50, not only runs Philly’s most valuable company and fourth-largest employer; he’s literally helped reshape the city’s skyline with the shimmering Comcast Center. (In negotiations with AT&T a few years ago, the idea of moving company HQ to New York was off the table.) Now the cable behemoth, which failed in a takeover attempt of Disney in 2004, is in advanced talks to take over NBC Universal- — which could give Philadelphia a seat at the -entertainment/broadcasting table right next to New York and L.A.

12. H.F. “Gerry” & Marguerite Lenfest, transformational
2005: 29 (Gerry) :: 2000: Not on list

Proof that money talks — and that Big Money talks really loudly. Since deciding a decade ago to give away their cable TV fortune, the Lenfests have shelled out $800 million and made possible some of Philly’s highest-profile projects — including the Barnes’s move to the city, and major expansions at the Museum of Art (to whom they’ve given $93 million) and the Curtis Institute. With all that money comes control: Gerry now simultaneously chairs the boards of the Art Museum, Curtis, and the American Revolution Center. But even billion-dollar fortunes run out, and Gerry, 79, has said they can no longer keep giving at the same pace.

13. Bart Blatstein, lifestyle
President, Tower Investments
2005: 32 :: 2000: Not on list

After a few decades transforming tracts into strip malls, this developer, 55, has succeeded in transforming an entire neighborhood. Blatstein’s über-modern mixed-use projects around the Piazza at Schmidts (the old brewery) and Liberties Walk (retail-and-restau-bar-fronted apartments) have turned Northern Liberties into the new Old City. Elsewhere, he’s converting the state office building at Broad and Spring Garden into apartments, and building a new student tower at Temple. Blatstein’s rep for getting stuff built should help with his next project: a real estate investment fund focused on Philly development.

14. Steven Altschuler, institutional
President and CEO, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
2005: 30 :: 2000: Not on list

To understand Altschuler’s rise on this list, you’ve only got to stand on 34th Street where it nears the river and look up at glass-encased CHOP. Throughout his decade at the reins, Altschuler has overseen an ongoing $1.1 billion expansion of the hospital. More important, Altschuler has overseen an expansion of the facility’s reputation: When the 57-year-old president and CEO arrived, CHOP was best known as America’s oldest pediatric hospital. Now it’s widely regarded as the best, topping nationwide lists year after year in a variety of critical fields, including cardiac and cancer.

15. Steve Cozen, influencer
Chairman, Cozen O’Connor
2005: Not on list :: 2000: 77

While the rest of the law industry is hunkering down due to the economy, Cozen, 70, and vice chairman Pat O’Connor are assembling a dream team at their namesake law firm, with heavyweights like Tad Decker (ex-Gaming Control Board chair), David Girard-diCarlo (ex-Blank Rome chair and ambassador to Austria), Mark Alderman (ex-Wolf Block chair) and Nelson Diaz (ex-City Solicitor). Cozen also plays in the political arena, with close ties to Rendell, Brady, Camden County freeholder Jeffrey Nash (a firm member) and Congressman Pat Murphy (a former firm associate). The firm’s latest venture: a D.C.-based lobbying office that will no doubt take advantage of all those connections.