Property Lines - Scott Olson

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Real Estate & Retail

Is mall's sign a billboard?

February 20, 2008

Castleton 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).
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