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Welcome to the New LA — Lighting up Downtown

When is a giant digital billboard not a billboard? When Jan Perry says so — and the City Council agrees with her.

That’s the heart of the sweetest of sweetheart deals that will allow big shot developer Jim Thomas and the giant Korean conglomerate Hanjin Group to tear down the Wilshire Grand and replace it with two tax-subsidized skyscrapers wrapped with five-story high digital billboards that will generate millions of dollars a year in revenue to the developer.
Tibby Rothman in the LA Weekly provides a hard look at the controversy, quoting various experts, activists and even City Planning Commissioners questioning creation of a special sign district just for this project and the impact of the digital signs.

“Ignoring opposition from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s appointees to the City Planning Commission, on March 11 City Council members Paul Krekorian and Ed Reyes
embraced a plan for huge billboards on the Wilshire Grand project. They
relied on the argument that the huge advertisements, which would be 12
times larger than big digital billboards erected two years ago on main
streets, including La Brea Avenue, are not “billboards” at all, and thus
don’t fly in the face of Angelenos’ opposition to more billboard ads,
or run afoul of the City Council’s own 2002 ban on new billboards.

“The billboards to appear on two skyscrapers proposed at Wilshire
Grand, located at Figueroa and Seventh downtown, will be illuminated
with several million ultrabright LED lightbulbs, whose glow is visible
for miles.

” ‘What is being proposed by the developers is not a billboard,” Councilwoman Jan Perryassured Krekorian and Reyes as they sat on the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee
meeting on March 11. She told them that 5-story-tall product ads aren’t
billboards because they’ll be “fully integrated into the curtain wall
of the project.’ “

The plan is build a 45-story hotel now and a 65-story office/residential tower later if there is ever any demand for it with half the 10 percent hotel tax — $54 million over 25 years — staying with Hanjin, owner of Korean Air.

Property owners around 7th and Figueroa have objected to the billboard plan but the project is set for City Council approval on Tuesday as matter of urgency, according to Perry who says the financing agreement for the project expires April 1.

A project labor agreement has been approved with the hotel workers union and the construction trades all also aboard, helping the deal sail through without scrutiny in record time.

It’s only the beginning of lighting up downtown like the Ginza in Tokyo, pictured above, as AEG plans massive digital billboards on its proposed NFL stadium and on the rebuilt Convention Center — developments that will open up much of downtown to becoming a sign district numerous building plastered with digital billboards.

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10 Responses to Welcome to the New LA — Lighting up Downtown

  1. Anonymous says:

    While the City Council might approve this new challenge to existing billboard laws (bans), I suspect the fat lady won’t have sung until City Attorney Trutanich weighs in.
    Very disappointed to read Krekorian signed on to this…now, does he honestly think Perry really stands a chance to even make it through to a run-off in the Mayoral election?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Everyone needs to slam these city council members on this. Perry never had a chance for Mayor and now even if she thought she did put a nail in her own coffin. This is corruption at the highest level. Perry is the moron who convinced the other morons on council to vote so AEG could get billboards that didn’t go through the process and have permits. Its about time we stopped the insanity of the lame brains on council and start holding them accountable. Where is the will of this City? Now is the time to go after them HARD

  3. Anonymous says:

    She is corrupt and is hoping to get a job at the AEG Football stadium to sell hotdogs.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We need to revise the way Councilmembers are elected. The top 15 vote-getters city-wide get to be Councilmembers. It would eliminate morons like Jan Perry, Ed Reyes and the do-nothing Wesson, who get elected by a handful of illiterate voters in their districts, but have enough power to destroy the city.

  5. Anonymous says:

    From LA Times:
    The developers of a proposed $1-billion hotel, office and retail complex downtown could get up to a $79-million tax break if the Los Angeles City Council approves a recommendation by the city’s top legislative analyst on Friday.
    Hanjin International Corp., which owns the Wilshire Grand Hotel, plans to build the project on the site of the existing hotel at Figueroa Street and Wilshire Boulevard. But last summer the developers said they could not move forward without economic assistance from the city.
    A report released Wednesday by the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst, Gerry Miller, calls for an effective waiver of the city’s transient occupancy tax, or bed tax, for the developers once the project is constructed.
    Do only whores work for the city of LA?

  6. Sandy Sand says:

    Not only are these digital billboards eye-blight and sky-blight (blocking out the stars and enough to make Dr. Ed Krupp at the Griffith Observatory turn green with frustration), they are also brain-blight, bombarding the senses with so much visual information the viewer sees nothing, therefore defeating their purpose of selling us stuff we neither want nor need.
    It’s like facing a wall of toothbrushes or shampoos or any other product in a store and not being able to find the one you’re looking for.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Perry is one of the biggest whores in town. She will sell out the interests of the community or the city for her own self-interest. And every day she gets fatter to prove what a pig she is.
    I hope the 7th and Wilshire property owners have enough sense to immediately hire attorneys to aggressively attack this piece of shit project that should have never seen “the light of day” in a city with a sane City Council.
    I do not want to live in a City filled with these crappy billboards or advertising curtain walls.

  8. Anonymous says:

    May Jan Perry rot in hell.

  9. Anonymous says:

    May Jan Perry rot in hell without Jim Thomas and the giant Korean conglomerate Hanjin Group around to throw a few drops of water in her parched mouth.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m so sorry that Krekorian voted that way.

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