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Challenging Sign-Lite Recommendation, Wilshire Grand Seeks More Wattage

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Proposed project along 7th Street; this is the size of one of the signs the developer will fight for; UPDATE: This is a Curbed-created ad
When the Planning Commission approved developer Hanjin/Thomas Properties’ Wilshire Grand hotel and office project last December, the commission recommended scaling back the size of the electronic signage and vetoed the proposed "architectural lighting" on the towers.

But now developer Hanjin/Thomas Properties wants some of its signs back. In a move that could renew the city's never-ending debate about the limits and potential of advertising in Los Angeles, at next week’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) meeting, the developer will seek larger digital advertisements on the lower portion of the proposed building, and ask for the return of the architectural lighting--defined as LED displays, but no advertising--on the towers.

As approved, the sign configuration is chopped up, and no longer provides a continuous look for the two-tower AC Martin-designed project, believes Alix Wisner, director of development for Thomas Properties. The new look "changes the original intent of our proposal," Wisner says.

The developer will ask PLUM to approve the originally-submitted larger signs for Figueroa Street, Wilshire Boulevard and 7th Street, on the lower part of the building. On 7th Street, for example, they want a 16,000 square foot digital sign area, rather than the Planning Commission-approved 3,000 square foot signage area.

A visual guide to what was approved by the Planning Commission and what is once again being sought by Hanjin/Thomas Properties can be seen here.

The developer also is seeking the return of the architectural lighting, the LED lights that would have covered the upper parts of the two buildings. The lighting was recommended by the city's planners and seen as a compromise for Hanjin/Thomas Properties, who originally sought large scale advertising on the upper part of the towers. But not willing to dramatically change the skyline for a single project, the Planning Commission nixed the idea of the upper-floor architectural lighting.

The appeal of the Planning Commission's decision comes as reps for Mayor Villaraigosa's office have urged quick city approval for the project, citing the economic benefits needed by its construction.

Meanwhile, the Wilshire Grand project is facing challenges from neighboring property owners. In recent weeks, both Brookfield Properties and 1000 Wilshire (the Wedbush building) have filed letters with the city over the project. According to the documents, Brookfield Properties, which owns three prominent buildings in the area, is worried about everything from traffic mitigation measures to the effects of the digital signage on the area. In their letter, 1000 Wilshire, which is repped by powerful lobbyist Ben Renznik, claims an inadequate environmental impact review was performed on the project.

· Planning Commission Approves Wilshire Grand, Chooses Sign-Lite Option [Curbed LA]
· Renderings Show Wilshire Grand Signage, What Planning Dept Recommends [Curbed LA]

Wilshire Grand

930 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90017 Visit Website