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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Medical Arts Building mega-billboard comes down

click to enlarge Giant children unwrapped the gift and inside found an abandoned, historic building
  • Giant children unwrapped the gift and inside found an abandoned, historic building

If you live or drive near downtown's historic Medical Arts Building and had grown used to a giant elephant hawking an inexpensive cell phone deal, you might have noticed something's, oh, kind of different about the vacant Peachtree landmark yesterday morning.

On Saturday, the controversial ten-story cellular ad — operated by Buford, Ga.-based KH Outdoor LLC — was unexpectedly removed. Downtown resident Kyle Kessler tells CL he observed two workers dismantling the billboard that morning.

In case you weren't around for the initial scuttlebutt: In early February, the city's code compliance division cited KH Outdoor for the billboard, saying it violated Atlanta's sign ordinance. KH Outdoor appealed the citation. The company said the city failed to follow standard procedure, turned a blind eye to other offenders, and violated its God-given right to free speech. Since then, the advertisement's remained on the Medical Arts Building. The issue is scheduled to be heard by the city's Board of Zoning Adjustments on April 1.

Kessler says the devices used to hold the advertisement are still attached to the building, which he says is a violation of the Georgia Outdoor Advertising Control Act. He's notified state Attorney General Thurbert Baker about the issue. (Kessler also noted that Ralph Hudgens, a Republican state senator from Hull and candidate for state insurance commissioner, is listed as a partner with KH Outdoor.)

Adam Webb, KH Outdoor's attorney, confirmed yesterday that the company ordered the billboard's removal, but declined to answer additional questions because of the upcoming BZA hearing. That little shindig starts at noon in City Council chambers.

(Photo by Kyle Kessler)

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