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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Medical Arts Building billboard rears ugly head — again

click to enlarge Meet your new local eyesore
  • Meet your new local eyesore

Last August, some Atlantans were puzzled by a massive Holiday Inn billboard that wrapped around the exterior of the Medical Arts Building on Peachtree Street.

Some folks thought the historic landmark — which has sat vacant since the late 1990s — was finally being redeveloped. Turns out the fabric wrap-around was merely used to promote the hotel chain's other projects in Atlanta. In other words, it was a giant, gaudy ad wrapped around a beautiful and unused building.

It was also a violation of city code. According to the city, building advertisements can be no larger than 200 square feet. They must also be related to the business on which they're installed. After Central Atlanta Progress raised a red flag about the Holiday Inn billboard, the ad was removed.

Well, on Sunday, a new advertisement was installed. This one's for Metro PCS. And yes, it appears it's just a tad bit larger than 200 square feet. And, the city tells CL, it too violates city code.

On Tuesday, downtown resident Kyle Kessler contacted members of the media and a marketing firm involved with the ad's placement to raise awareness about this mesmerizing piece of public art. Included in Kessler's email was the above photo.

CL contacted Anosh Ishak, one of the building's owners, on Tuesday and asked why he'd allowed another billboard to be placed on the building after last year's hullabaloo. Ishak, who said he was out of town until Friday, claimed he was unaware of the new advertisement. He'd have to touch base when he received more information about the issue, he told us.

A spokeswoman with the marketing firm that contracted with MetroPCS, told CL on Wednesday that Revelation Outdoor Advertising, the company that installed the billboard, is working with the city to obtain a permanent license for the billboard. She says Revelation doesn't think the advertisement — which, we should note, is approximately 10 stories tall and wraps around three sides of the building — violates the city's signage ordinance.

A city spokeswoman, however, told CL today that the code compliance division is in the process of issuing citations — one for each of the three giant panels — to the building owner and the advertising firm.

Maria Saporta has a good post about why these mega-billboards — which we're told by a source were banned prior to the 1996 Olympics — don't help the city's image. Worth a read, for sure.

(Photo by Max Shirley)

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