Digital signage is a hot topic these days. Whether it's about how crazy they are or where they should go, the newest strategy seems to be to make the area in and around Market East a mini-Times Square with digital signage and billboards atop every building. Word came down this week that the Planning Commission approved Brickstone Realty's — one of the major players in the area's revival — plan to put a 14 foot high digital sign above the historic, and architecturally amazing, Lit Brothers at 7th and Market Street. Plan Philly explains how it's possible:
"Spending $10 million on public investments is a requirement under the Market Street East Advertising District, the special zoning district that allows for large, digital signs advertising both uses on-site (accessory) and elsewhere (non-accessory)."So, what type of public investment are we talking about? Why, it's fixing up the concourse of the SEPTA's Broad-Ridge Spur that sits beneath the building, of course! Three things are necessary under the Market East Large-Format Sign Approval process are essentially the $10 million public investment and to guarantee that the sign's structure won't detract from the awesome architectural features of the Lit Brother's Building. Oh yeah, it can't distract drivers and/or take away from the "peace enjoyment of the neighborhood." Under the plan, Brickstone will look to improve the street scape around the building by improving and installing light fixtures that highlight the wonderful architecture. They'll also be installing stamped concrete to replace the drab sidewalk that's currently in place. Awnings and bike racks are also in the plan to round up the improvements on the outside.
As for the concourse, the plan is to "bring some color down here," as Stantec's John Pringle said at the Planning Commission hearing. They're looking to vastly improve the lighting throughout — that includes the PATCO concourse as well. Upgrades to the public restrooms are also in the plan. If you've ever been in that area, you'll know that both of those things greatly needed. Also, look for "interactive video displays above and below ground to help with navigating the area as well as some other "architectural accents."
So, what do you think? Are you in favor of trading signage on top of one of Philly's iconic buildings are improved public amenities such as the Broad-Ridge Spur?
· Lit Bros. owner promises subway, other improvements, in exchange for large, digital sign [Plan Philly]
· Digital Signage Coming to Lit Bros. [Property]
· Dumb idea of the week [Axis Philly]
· 'Urban Experiential Displays' Proposed for Philadelphia's Center City [Planetizen]