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.

  • 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 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. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

    2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

    3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

    4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

    5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim