Mag Mile Might Get Digital Signs

Water Tower Place, The Shops at North Bridge and 900 North MIchigan Shops meet requirements for proposed digital signs

Chicago's Mag Mile might get even more electrifying.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) submitted an amendment to the Zoning, Landmarks and Buildings Committee in June that would outfit some of the malls on Michigan Avenue with flashing, digital signs.

The amendment would specifically apply to shopping centers with at least 300,000 square feet and ten tenants, and would allow buildings that meet those standards, such as Water Tower Place, to use flashing signs no more than 1,000 square feet to advertise retailers.

The digital signs would have to be less than 80 feet off the ground and the images would not be allowed to change in less than 20 minute intervals, according to the proposed measure. The signs would also have to be installed on interior walls, to be seen the exterior, with retailer names larger than products being advertised.

"It's definitely a positive, attracting business," said Chandler Branwell

While the shopping centers would benefit from the flashy, attention-grabbing signs, there are others who don't want to see that part of town turn into something like New York's Time Square.

"It's really important that we as a city try to preserve that elegance, and that sense of place," said Jonathan Fine of Preservation Chicago. "It's important that if it is done that it be done tastefully, if that's even possible."

The measure is pending in a City Council committee.

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