Planners recommend denial of IBJ variable-message sign

November 30, 2009
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The city's planning staff is recommending denial of an electronic message screen proposed as part of a new sign for IBJ Media Corp., the parent company of Indianapolis Business Journal. The company has made several minor changes to the color and size of the sign at the request of city planners but has been unable to win support for the 3-foot-by-5-foot variable-message portion, which would scroll headlines from the newspaper.  Such signs were banned by urban-design guidelines adopted in 2008, because of concerns about urban feel and sign clutter. "Placing an electronic message sign on an historic building would wholly detract from the building's façade and severely diminish the contextual relationship between the building’s signs and its façade design," planning staff said in a report. "Historically, projecting signs were common on building elevations. Electronic message signs would be a significant change from historical practices." Other than the electronic portion, the planning staff said it supports the sign. The building, constructed in 1923, already has one projecting sign for Morton's The Steakhouse at the intersection of Washington and Pennsylvania streets. The new sign would project from the northwest edge.  A hearing on the matter has been moved to Jan. 26. An earlier post is here.

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  • Trust me
    Trust me, the IBJ doesn't want that EVMS. It would look awful and would cheapen IBJ's carefully crafted (up to now) image.
    • Trust him
      I agree with MDB. The message board looks cheap...like a local bank branch in a rural community.
    • Agree with the City
      I hate to say it because I am all for the IBJ and it's great up-to-minute news updates, but unless it is a ribbon board that snakes around the building and would provide a substantial amount of information, don't cheapen the IBJ trademark and the name with just little quick messages at the bottom of a rather small sign. Keep it Simple, Keep it Classic. No electronic messaging.
    • I Agree
      I completely agree with the previous comments. The sign is decent looking until you get to that electronic portion which just makes it look tacky!
    • Another Idea
      The Cultural Trail will be converging at that intersection (Penn/Virginia/Washington). How about IBJ sponsor a public art piece that incorporates a news ticker-type media across the street from their building along the trail. A cutting edge interactive and digital art piece. Put a call for proposals out, put the best in the paper, and hold a public/subscriber vote. Be a good neighbor, contribute to the vibrant fabric of downtown and plant your flag as a vibrant, forward-thinking media leader.
    • Mixed feelings
      the Top part (before the electronic) looks pretty cool, but I am not sure if I would want the red electronic part of the sign like that. I like Emmis's sign, but it is built in with the buidling. Thanks for giving a color version so we could get more of a realistic view of how it will look.

      Back when I was in highschool, they had a little electronic red sign on a brick wall leading to the lunch room, and it seemed a little cheap and not as clean. I am not sure why, but a red electronic sign just doesn't feel clean or classy.
    • Public art/running news
      UrbanDesigner, great idea. Public art is great by itself but if it involves the public for the design and selection, great, great, great. (Great for IBJ, too).
    • Zoning board approval a slam dunk
      IBJ's lawyers at CLark & Quinn have oh-so-cleverly arranged to have this case also heard before Board III which virtually guarantees approval. No problem!
      Actually, IBJ Media should reconsider, and withdraw, its anti-public EVMS plan. Give up on the silly eyesore!
    • EVMS look tacky
      Mike Quinn can manipulate any board the case is heard in front of. Like him or not, he gets the job done and is definitely part of the good ole boys network and is in tight with zoning members as he has been for 30+ years.

      He could sell heaters to people in the desert.
    • Ditch
      Ditch the message board. Perhaps put it in the window of the building.
    • Cheap
      Cheap... it just looks CHEAP. Perhaps the team at IBJ should start reading the Property Lines section of their own publication.
    • What's the big deal?
      So Flagstar can install god-awful signage all over a "historic" building, but IBJ can't install a little news-ticker under their sign?

      --

      The real truth here is:
      1. The sign is not that bad, people.
      2. No one's actually going to read the little ticker anyway.
      3. We have overly-zealous anti-signage rules that contribute to the sleepy feeling downtown.
    • Drop the sign
      I agree that our signage rules make us sound like some little sleepy historic town that wants nothing to do with progress. I believe electronic signage like they have at Emmis can look good and be an attraction.

      However, this sign absolutely looks cheap and tacky, no question. I work across the street from IBJ, and I look at things in this block daily. I would hate to see a cheap little electronic sign that looks like it belongs in front of a middle school up there. I agree that red is especially a bad color, but more so it's the size.

      Love the sponsored public art idea. I'm always sad when the rotating art displays disappear, and now that funding for that program is gone, we desperately need a public-private partnership like this to liven up the corner.
    • Ablerock...
      1. The TOP half of the sign is not that bad. The bottom (electronic) half looks CHEAP and UGLY ( certainly just as bad, if not worse, than anything from Flagstar).

      2. If no one is actually going to read the ticker, what's the purpose of having it anyway?

      3. Completely agree about the anti-signage rules. But when we DO allow signs, shouldn't we expect better than bad? Isn't this the mantra of most on these boards when it comes to urban development? Why would this be any different?
    • Checkerboard fascade
      Any truth to the rumor that IBJ Corp. will be incorporating a white and black checkerboard fascade with blacked out windows to go along with this sign? Ditch it. The red message area looks cheap.
    • ...and the rest
      Blogojevich, you forgot the fake limestone base and bumblebee yellow awnings. :)
    • Nah
      I didn't forget the awnings and famke limestone, they were dumped to cut costs.
    • Insulting
      You people. The crescent moon is internationally recognized as a symbol of Islam. Please refrain from using.
    • Do Only Boring People Read This Blog?
      First off, Ablerock is correct.

      I don't even know how to respond to most people saying the top isn't that bad, but the bottom is...Do we live in an alternate universe where bad taste rules this blog?

      it happens way to often that the submitters to this forum have absolutely no design sensibility or any standards for basic taste in design. The same can be said for the planning staff. The Regional Center Guidelines just won a major planning award, but it will be of no use in the hands of people whose discretion is ridiculous.

      If anything, fake pitched topson blade signs are a distraction. Is it an allusion to a temple... maybe a bungalow! Surely, anything that looks old matches anything else that's old.

      God forbid, media and information coming from a media company!!! We wouldn't want any of our building to actually communicate their function to the public.

      These responses are a joke and embarrassing.

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    1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

    2. If you only knew....

    3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

    4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

    5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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