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Commercial ads coming to University District following decades of disapproval

The wall at the empty building next to the McDonalds at 1976 North High Street is to host the first commercial advertisement the University District has seen in years. Credit: Grace Fleisher | Lantern Reporter

The wall at the empty building next to the McDonalds at 1976 North High Street is to host the first commercial advertisement the University District has seen in years. Credit: Grace Fleisher | Lantern Reporter

In the 1970s, locals and passersby alike would see a number of commercial ads and billboards on display while cruising down North High Street. For the first time in decades, the campus area will once again house a commercial advertisement.

The poster ad, for Rogue Fitness, is set to be positioned the wall of the vacant building beside McDonald’s at 1976 N High St., following a conceptual approval of the project at the University Area Review Board meeting in November.  

Board member Doreen Uhas Sauer referred to the wall at the meeting as, “a wall never intended to be seen,” and expressed an overall tone of approval for covering the vacancy.

David Hodge, attorney of Underhill & Hodge, began to seek out the opportunity for the corner at 17th and High months ago.

Hodge explained at the meeting his project is intended to inspire the growth of a district, although the UARB has worked for decades to eliminate ads from High Street.

Generally, zoning codes don’t allow for commercial advertisements in the University District, so the UARB approved the advertisement concept by way of a variance. Some, however, such as board member Pasquale Grado expressed concern for the community over the reintroduction of ads into the University District.

“The presence on High Street doesn’t warrant anything that is the size of a square,” Grado said. “The reason that there are no graphics in the Short North and High Street, unlike downtown, are to makeup for the fact that the city was short-sighted when it demolished all of those buildings downtown,” Grado said. “I don’t think there’s a parallel between our section of High Street and where those signs are placed.”

The vote on the conceptual design of the sign’s site approved the ad under a few stipulations. The ad is to be only 5 percent logo and 95 percent art. According to the board, it must be a square, the left most portion of the graphic must reach the building to its top and the left side of the ad must start at the edge of the building.

“The 90-day advertisement period is to be used to develop a proposal to architecturally treat the corner and to agree on ground rules for further replacement of the graphic,” board member Frank Petruziello explained.

Following the 90 days after the ad is placed, another company must submit a proposal for a variance to advertise on the wall.

While the advertisement’s exact placement date and price tag has not yet been finalized, as its final design still needs to be approved by the board, companies can begin contemplating whether they would be interested in placing an item on the corner for spring 2017.

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