Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

4 Signs Too Many on Tower?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

4 Signs Too Many on Tower?

Article excerpt

After almost a quarter-century as staid downtown landmarks, the

twin signs on the towering Independent Life building are

sparking debate, as city officials pursue a proposal to allow

signs on all sides of the building.

The City Council might vote tonight on legislation letting the

building's new anchor tenant, AccuStaff Inc., put lettering atop

four sides of the 37-story tower.

The idea is proving unpopular with some council members and

with activists worried about the building's appearance.

"What we're saying [is], if you've got money and you're

influential downtown, we'll let you have the signs you want,"

Councilman Terry Wood said.

The idea was also criticized by the president of Capsigns, a

civic group that has spearheaded several efforts to limit sign

advertising. The group has regarded widespread signage as a form

of visual pollution.

The Independent Life building, often considered downtown's

signature office building, has signs on two sides now.

AccuStaff, a temporary staffing company, wants extra space to

promote a subsidiary information technology firm called modis.

However, city sign laws currently limit the company's signs too

much to make that feasible.

In response to the company's concern, Mayor John Delaney's

office introduced a bill to let landlords of commercial

buildings assign all their sign rights to a single tenant. That

could benefit anchor tenants occupying relatively small parts of

some office towers, because it would give them the right to

erect larger signs. City laws limit the size of signs based on

office size.

AccuStaff, for example, has agreed to lease seven floors of the

37-story building. The building, owned by North Carolinabased

Highwoods Properties Inc., was vacated after Independent Life

Insurance Co. consolidated with another firm and left town.

Because of its limited office size, Accustaff would be entitled

to only a relatively small sign presence, said Mike Weinstein,

executive director of the Jacksonville Economic Development

Commission. …

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