PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s an iconic symbol of Pittsburgh that has fallen into disrepair.
KDKA has now learned that after a year of talks, plans for a multi-million dollar rehab of the Bayer sign on Mount Washington have fallen through.
The night time hides its flaws, but by day, the Bayer sign reveals itself for what it really is – a rusty, old hulk of a billboard and an eyesore.
“It’s been in deplorable condition for some time and it’s time to do something with the sign,” says City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith.
It’s so badly deteriorated that Bayer no longer wants to be associated with it.
But sources tell KDKA’s Andy Sheehan that Giant Eagle wanted to take it over after a $4 million digital makeover by the sign’s owner, Lamar Advertising.
But since the city has sat on its application for more than a year, the supermarket chain has now withdrawn its interest. The sign will remain in its present condition for the foreseeable future.
“I think it was a great opportunity. I think a lot of people would have been agreeable that it was a reputable company. I think we could have worked through whatever the concerns were,” said Smith.
“This is an iconic sign that has long been operated in a manner that we’re comfortable with,” said Kevin Acklin, the chief of staff for the Peduto administration.
The Peduto administration was apparently not comfortable with Giant Eagle’s proposed use of the sign that would have gone beyond displaying its logo, community messages, the time and temperature.
Sources say the talks foundered on Giant Eagle’s wishes to do some limited advertising on the sign.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “You’re objecting because you don’t want them to advertise any product?”
“I think what we’re saying is, we like the continued use as it’s been. As a government we don’t pick content,” said Acklin.
While neither Giant Eagle nor Lamar would comment, Councilwoman Smith says the city could have worked it out.
“I don’t think the city has the right to tell a company what to put on an advertising sign,” said Smith.
For now, the sign remains same.
While Smith would like to bring Giant Eagle back to the table, sources tell KDKA that’s not likely, and Lamar will need to find another interested advertiser.