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All Lit Up: Council Creates 1-Block "Sign District" for Wilshire Grand Highrise Project

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Rendering of the Wilshire Grand project
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A unanimous vote by the Los Angeles City Council yesterday brought approval to the proposed signage for the Wilshire Grand project, which will light up two future DTLA skyscrapers. The 12-0 vote gave the okay to "an elaborate package of new flashing signs, illuminated graphics and moving text," for the 45-story hotel and 65-story office building, according to the LA Times, and, in doing so, the Council "created a new one-block sign district" to accommodate the project.

The LAT breaks down what the sign package in this new mini-district will involve:

That district will allow various kinds of digital advertising on the first 10 floors of the two towers. The tops of the two skyscrapers will feature digital signs promoting the buildings' owner and major tenants. And on dozens of stories in between, LED lights would display noncommercial images such as flowers and vines that would fade in and out.

Supporters of the new buildings' colorful design elements hail the lighting scheme as art, and a way to revitalize the DTLA skyline. Councilman Dennis Zine is quoted as saying he is "amazed at how anyone could be opposed to this."

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Of course, there are people opposed to the now-approved proposal. Some believe the lights will be a danger to motorists who might be distracted by the flashing and glare, while others believe that it will not be as aesthetically pleasing as its supporters tout.

The Wilshire Grand specail sign district "is the first approved since the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the city's ban on new billboards last year. That law allows sections of the city to be carved out as exceptions to the ban."

The first tower is anticipated to be built in 2015. The construction of the Korean Air-Thomas Properties project could bring 12,000 jobs to the area.