SBD/Issue 245/Facilities & Venues

L.A. Council OKs Sale Of Convention Center Signage Rights To AEG

L.A. City Council Agrees To Sell Signage
Rights For L.A. Convention Center To AEG 
The L.A. City Council yesterday voted 12-1 in favor of selling signage rights for the L.A. Convention Center to AEG, a move that "could allow dozens of billboards and video displays to sprout on a public facility along one of the city's busiest freeway interchanges," according to Phil Willon of the L.A. TIMES. Under the deal, AEG will receive the facility's exclusive signage rights. In turn, the company will pay the city of L.A. "at least $2[M] a year over the next decade and also share a portion of the net advertising profits from the signs." Council members said that they were "largely swayed by the stream of cash that the deal will deliver to the city at a time when the economic downturn has forced budget cuts and fee increases." L.A. Council member Janice Hahn: "This is revenue we've never had before." The city now will hold "separate hearings on AEG's detailed plans to adorn the convention center with more than 50,000 square feet of billboards and flashing electronic signs." The "most visible would be two massive signs that would cover portions of the center's landmark glass towers, and four digital billboards would blink out to drivers on the 10 Freeway and 110 Freeway interchange." Council members yesterday "emphasized that they had only approved the business agreement with AEG, and that issues regarding the size, location and features of the signs still must be reviewed by the city Planning Commission and, eventually, will come before the council for a separate vote." In addition, the California Department of Transportation also "must review the plan to ensure that freeway drivers will not be distracted by the signs" (L.A. TIMES, 9/11). L.A. Council Member Bill Rosendahl, who cast the lone "no" vote, said that "giving a no-bid deal to a company that gets more than $300[M] in city subsidies from the L.A. Live project is bad business" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/11).

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