The 14-foot digital signage at the corner of 7th and Market had its inaugural lighting at a ceremony outside the Dow Chemical Building the other night. Amidst approximately two dozen chattering sets of teeth, Mark Merlini of Brickstone Realty spoke expansively about the continued transformation of Market East, starting with the unique scrolling signs which will also adorn the west side of the building facing City Hall. In addition, he promised that by February the Lits building will "also be illuminated with lights to show off its historic facade."
At the ceremony preceding the lighting, Councilman Mark Squilla also spoke about East Market's revitalization, and how in the near future, many of the other buildings along the Market Street will have similar displays, resembling Times Square, on a slightly smaller scale.
While digital billboards have understandably drawn the ire of Scenic Philadelphia, community and motorist groups, and nearby residents, this one hearkens the very history of the building. The 700 block of Market Street as we know it was completed in 1918, a combination of buildings with a common interior begun in 1859 with a mostly uniform Renaissance Revival façade by Collins & Autenrieth. Even before the final segment was completed, on the corner of Seventh, the Lits building featured a wraparound sign from mid-block on Eighth to the east side of Market...signage is nothing new to the Lits complex.
And there you have it. Forward, the Light Brigade!