This morning, the Birmingham Design Review Committee got its first look at a proposed replacement for what’s come to be known around the city as “The Pepsi Sign.” Representatives from 84 Outdoor and Cayenne Creative presented a working design to committee members at the end of the meeting.
City officials reached out to 84 Outdoor by letter (of the cease and desist variety) after learning about the plans to replace the existing vinyl signs covering the electric scrolling installation atop Two North Twentieth via a story published on March 2 by AL.com. They met with them on Tuesday and subsequently added them to this morning’s agenda to give the committee a chance to offer input on its design.
It has been just over two years since the advertisement was first installed. (We have a recap of previous reports about appearances by “The Sign” on the Design Review agenda available on Dear Birmingham.) A follow-up report by AL.com’s Kelly Poe said UAB will be paying $300,000 for a one-year lease of the two-sided sign.
James Stanley, an attorney with the City of Birmingham, informed committee members the sign is considered a non-conforming billboard for zoning purposes. Based on this designation, the new owner does not have to seek approval of any replacement of the advertising on the sign so long as the sign is not expanded in size and there was no need to replace its structure. 84 Outdoor can choose (as it did) to bring those proposed designs to the committee to seek input and opinion as they are considered, but they do not need their approval for installation.
The design as presented this morning has several downtown destinations represented in simulated black and white photos, including the Alabama Theatre; the City Federal building; the Empire Building; Harbert Plaza; Railroad Park; Sloss Furnaces; Vulcan; and the soon to be lit Magic City sign along the Rotary Trail on Southside. A green UAB logo would sit in the middle of it. The design would be closer to what had been suggested by the committee while working with Harbert Realty on what they originally asked to be considered temporary signage more than two years ago.
The committee asked the applicants to come back for the next regularly scheduled meeting on March 23 to give them an opportunity to review the proposed design.
Unfortunately, the BhamPepsiSign Twitter account doesn’t exist anymore, so the sign could not be reached for comment.