Zoning board denies new digital sign for IBJ Media

March 3, 2010
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IBJ signA city planning board has denied a request from IBJ Media Corp. for a new sign including a small variable-message component outside its headquarters at 41 E. Washington St. The 4-1 vote Tuesday by a Board of Zoning Appeals means the company will have to wait at least a year to apply again unless it challenges the decision in court, said John Bartholomew, a Department of Metropolitan Development spokesman. The parent company of Indianapolis Business Journal filed plans for the sign late last year and has made several changes to the sign's color and size at the request of city planners. But the company could not win support for the 3-foot-by-5-foot variable-message screen, designed to scroll headlines from the newspaper. Such signs were banned by urban-design guidelines adopted in 2008 over concerns about urban feel and sign clutter. In its application, IBJ cited scrolling digital signs outside the headquarters of the Indianapolis Star and Emmis Communications, approved before the rules took effect. "We did it so we could compete the way they do, with street-level messaging," said IBJ Media CFO Jeff Basch. He said it is possible IBJ will proceed without the variable-messaging portion. An earlier post is here.

  • : )
    Ha Ha!!!
  • Good...
    Good... I thought this sign was poorly conceived and unattractive anyway. It very much reminded me of (super-sized versions of) the bus stop signs here in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach with the scrolling red message...
  • Too bad
    The ONE exception to the "No EVMS" rule I think is appropriate downtown is for broadcasters and print media to have a ticker/crawl like Emmis, the Star, and WISH TV.

    Of course, in the internet age, defining "broadcasters" and "print" would be a nightmare. Would "Inside Indiana Business" qualify even though they don't use newsprint or own a broadcast license? Big can o' worms
  • classier sign
    I think they should do something that doesn't look as tacky. Just a sign with no scrolling message...make it look vintage of some sort. The moon is hideous.
  • Sign Police Bust IBJ!
    Get a life people - it's a great sign. The message board area is so small it's irrelevant (every city planners dream sign.) If Lucas Oil Stadium can have an LED display, IBJ should have had their request granted.
  • now
    now will you start investigating the gross waste that is DMD and MDC
  • Well...
    I have a pretty damn good life, MattC. That sign is ugly. It's boring, cheap looking and ugly. I'm glad it was denied.
  • thank you
    Based only on the sign image above, it looks over-sized and the digital screen only adds to the cheapness of the overall look. IBJ can do better.
  • now will you start investigating the gross waste that is DMD and MDC
    "now will you start investigating the gross waste that is DMD and MDC"

    That is an article that I'd really like to read.
  • Ticker
    I think a plain sign would be fine, but in the future, I think IBJ should investigate a scrolling ticker sign. How can this now be acceptable Urban feel - a large long ribbon ticker, New York, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, St. Louis, Louisville all have these styles of messaging. Even Indianapolis does, but I don't see how a ticker is cluterring urban feel if it wraps a building.
  • Congrats Cory!
    Cory will hate this, but he's just been awarded for excellence in enterprise reporting by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for his Simon story
  • Congrats Cory. Love reading your blog. IBJ has a good crew of blog writers.

    That said, I do have an issue with the small flashing sign board. I really believe it would be better to be a long scrolling board that wraps around the corner of the building similar to times square. It should be required to scoll only, no flashing. I think that would add to the urban feel.

    How does the City justify turning down this sign though after approving the monstrosity that is the Flagstar sign across the street?
  • Agreed
    While I do believe that media should have media signage, the idea Indyman had is a good one. I also agree that Flagstar's sign is hideous and this sign isn't as bad as a lot of them.

    That said, it would be great if IBJ had a really slick sign as Indyman describes.
  • Toooo..discretionary
    C'mon people. The restriction guidelines have gotten 'stupid' at this point. That is,..unless you want the blandness to garner even further national 'accolades'.
  • take a look at flagstars sign and tell me that is what you want. You can do cool, without destroying the historic fabric of downtown.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.