Is mall's sign a billboard?

February 20, 2008
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                              Square SignThe city waived several zoning requirements in allowing Simon Property Group to install a giant electronic sign at the entrance to Castleton Square Mall. The electronic portion of the 40-foot-tall sign is 380 square feet (the city's sign code allows a maximum of 188 square feet) and makes up 80 percent of the sign (code says 40 percent is the max allowed). The sign also sits within 15 feet of a signalized intersection (the code calls for 125 feet). The sign was allowed, though, so Simon could promote its mall. But the agreement does not allow Simon to become a de facto billboard operator, said senior planner Ryan Hunt. The city's sign code bans electronic light displays on billboards. You be the judge: Is Simon in violation? On a recent visit, the sign's rotation included a pitch advising customers to "Seize the day" at Caesars Indiana Casino (adding in small print that a casino shuttle from the mall is coming soon). The sign also included ads for Simon gift cards and St. Vincent Hospital (an ad that mentions that mammograms are available at Macy's).
  • Mammograms at Macy's? Do those come with any $25 purchase of Clinque products?
  • Looks like a clever stunt. I guess Simon should get some credit for breathing new life into a mall that seemed to be getting a little tired. Who still shops at JC Pennies and Sears anyways? I haven't stepped foot in those stores since like 1984.
  • I drive by the thing on my way to work every morning. It is a monstrosity. I'd never given a thought to zoning violations, though.

    I have to say, it does fit in with the general character of 82nd Street, at least from I-69 to Allisonville. Further west it gets a bit better, but sadly not much.
  • what do you expect in castleton?
  • What do you expect from a city planner? They always manage to let certain places or attorneys skirt around code. It happens on a weekly basis. Attend a MDC hearing sometime or read a staff report on justifications around city code. It is like a good ole boys country club or fraternity house at those hearings. Almost laughable, outcomes more predictable than a WWE fight.
  • I'm shocked and appalled by Johny Q's comments! Who would say such a thing? Obviously, he doesn't understand the need for our city planners and the ones pulling the strings to encourage, enhance, support, promote, advocate for, or just get out of the way of economic development. We need to keep all our retail developments thriving and successful. Do you think the Simon family, with its roots in Indy, would really do something that served their interests, but was harmful to the citizens of their home? I know it seems more unlikely than losing a sports franchise, but do you want to see Castleton Mall pick up and move to L.A. or some other city that isn't lucky enough to already have one?
  • Do you think the Simon family, with its roots in Indy, would really do something that served their interests, but was harmful to the citizens of their home?

    Hmmm, like run Eastgate, Washington & Lafayette into the ground? Like ruin a city park to build their ugly headquarters?
  • Erich, a city park? It was a patch of grass with a fountain. It's a few minutes walk away from both Military Park and the War Memorial parks. That was not a loss. Development is a gain, and though the Simon headquarters is not the pinnacle of architectural achievement, it is much better than what has been built in the city recently.

    As for the malls, they weren't meant to be saved. The neighborhoods are on a downturn(I grew up in Warren Township and lived near 38th and High School for a long time, so I know). I used to work at Washington Square when I was in High School and I always decried the loss of the food joints. I asked around and they said that nobody except Luca Pizza can make jack-diddly in the place. Eastgate was pathetic, ugly, and old. And I don't think I even need to explain Lafayette Square, that area might take 10 or more years to improve.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Eastsider. Tell the local council cronies to Get out of the way! and let people build what the area actually wants and needs. Not what will make politicians popular with the politically active minority. I think the Simon's can manage their business just fine. They wouldn't have tens of billions of dollars of property to their credit if they couldn't.
  • Reminds me of those gigantic signs outside of the casinos in Vegas.
  • Do you think the Simon family, with its roots in Indy, would really do something that served their interests, but was harmful to the citizens of their home?

    Oh geez, let me think about that one for a minute...

    OK, I've got it: YES! Honestly, how naive can you be? Simon isn't any different from any other corporation. Their interests are the one and only concern. That's business.
  • If not the sign, how would you perpose that Simon brings in new customers to the shops within their property? More money spent at the mall, the better chance that the shops will stay, which means that more money in Simon's pocket. It is a snow ball effect.
  • I am all for Economic Development and letting the good ole boys get out of the way, (I have a Masters in Economic Development and City Planning) so I like the sign, it isn't tacky like Billboards, it was tastefully designed and it is on THEIR property. Billboards are on leased property. However, there is a need for consistency. It is how a city prevents itself from looking like trash if there was no uniformity based in code and we just let everyone build what they want. The problem isn't necessarily within the people, it's within the code. It is too much of a political issue for any member of the current administration to talk about updating codes, bringing them to the Modern Century (i.e. Digital Billboards). If codes were updated and modernized we wouldn't have the Flagstar Sign that was recently unveiled on this site placed over windows of a Historic Structure downtown.
  • Dam, how many people on here work for the evil Simon Corporation?

    Why have signage codes if every body going to get a waver. AND WE ALL KNOW THAT ANY CITY PLANNER IS GOING TO BEND OVER AND PULL IT OPEN FOR THE SIMONS. The wider they pull it open the better change they have of getting job there.

    If the sign is ONLY for the mall then why are there advertisements for other places and things? That’s selling space and that’s a bill board not a MALL sign. Plus anyway it’s only Castleton.
  • I agree with does look like a vegas sign haha
  • The Mall is able to place those types of advertisments because it is associated with their mall. It really isn't any different than posting those damn Yard Card signs by the road announcing Mammograms at Macy's or the Shuttle to Ceasers. It's just a nicer more poignant form to advertise for services they are offering their customers.
  • Johny Q & Bob-

    I whole-heartedly DISAGREE with your assessments. RARELY will you see one of the City's planners allow a billboard of any sort if a variance is requested. Citizens must remember that the planner's job is to provide RECOMMENDATIONS to the various boards and commissions, not give approvals. As a former member of the planning staff, I do agree that the desicisions can be predictable, but those are the boards and commission decisions, not the planners. I implore you to take a look at what the staff recommends versus what the board decides before making statements on how the process works. Finally, I am confident that the planners couldn't care less who the petitioner is. I know I never do. Again, point fingers at the BZA amd MDC members if you have a gripe with allowances for certain players.

    You are joking, right? There is no justification for Simon being able to ADVERTISE for Caesar's Casino. Are there slot machines in Casleton now that are operated by Caesars? That would be the only justification for Caesar's Indiana to be on that sign. Since there are not slots, the sign is a billboard...fact!
  • Erich -
    Like ruin a city park to build their ugly headquarters?

    First of all, this was never a city park and there is still a park there even after Simon built their headquarters. The Simon building footprint is there is still a great deal of green space south of the building.

    Hmmm, like run Eastgate, Washington & Lafayette into the ground?

    Let me ask you this, would you want to open a store in any of those malls? No one does due to the poor areas they are currently in. Simon poured a lot of money into those malls and nothing seemed to work.

    There is always complaining on here about companies moving their headquarters out of state, well the Simon's stayed here and employ 1,100+ people in that building.
  • Edit -

    The Simon building footprint that is there still provides a great deal of green space south of the building.
  • Simon poured a lot of money into those malls and nothing seemed to work.

    Say Anything, could you please clarify that statement. I'd like to know exactly how much money the Simons poured into Eastgate. Was the huge parking lot reconfigured or re-paved, landscaped or updated? Were the buildings moderized? They bailed on it, plain and simple. I know it is their right within our capitalist society to do so But the fact that they and so many posters on this site won't admit it is what scares me. It's fine to be a corporate supporter, but I hate corporate apologists.
  • I love when people don't pick up on sarcasm on a message board.
  • To Former Planner: The DMD staff report indicates that the planning staff did recommend approval of the giant Castleton Mall sign, but I'm sure you might point out that decision isn't necessarily made the planner you see at the hearing on the government channel.

    Simon's not evil, but they are definitely violating the spirit, if not the absolute wording, of their agreement to advertise off-premise products and services. The ad for Caesar's is off-premise advertising, regardless of the small print message at the bottom indicating something about a shuttle from the mall to the casino coming soon. At a minimum, the shuttle service should at least be running, and the reference to the shuttle should be as prominent as the rest of the message. Looks like they're really pushing their luck on this one. It's always possible that the pols acquiescence will not be endless.
  • I love when people don’t pick up on sarcasm on a message board

    Many of people here need to take themselves a lot less seriously.
  • Eastsider-

    You obviously miss the jist of this blurb as well as what I actually wrote...the planners supported an electronic sign for the mall...not an OFF-PREMISE ADVERTSING SIGN (aka Billboard). Therefore, my comment rarely will you see a 'planner' recommend approval of a BILLBOARD, are still VALID! Please go back and reread and then jump back in this discusion.

    Thanks and you are welcome! I know what I am talking about!
  • Of course the planners were forced to find a justification for approving the sign.
  • O.k. Former Planner. Ease up there buddy. I don't think I accused of not knowing what you were talking about. Nobody wants to see that thumping blood vessel in your forehead burst.
  • Honestly, who f'n cares?!?! This whole area is one big cluster. This one sign isn't making the area any worse than it already is.
  • I couldn't believe this thing was for real the first time I drove by it. With the upgrade to the mall, a new sign was obvious. But this thing is horrible. I felt a bit bad for the Castleton Grill restaurant next door. (Even though their food sucks.) They added a sign like this to the front of their building and like 2 months later Simon put theirs up.
  • There is a concept that most progressive cities follow on sign control(including Carmel,Fishers, Noblesville).
    When everyone wispers everyone is notices, when a few shout not one gets noticed. Now just watch the street around Castleton Square start shouting to get noticed and you can bet the sign companies are already sell their blight and Indianapolis will show no control again. Here comes another West 38th blighted retail street.
  • Sorry city planners and boards...I have been involved and activelly followed zoing in this city for years. I have watched the planners and board approve projects for fast food restaurants that absolutely ripped apart communites in this city, only to have those restaurants board up amd leave vacant buildings and ruin neigborhoods in the aftermath. I see it over and over again. I hae no respect for the process here in Indy.

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