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Los Angeles City Council votes to encourage historic Broadway signs

Los Angeles' Broadway could soon be back in lights.  

City Councilman Jose Huizar led a discussion Wednesday night at the Palace Theatre about adorning the city's Broadway district with signs — an act he hopes will help revitalize the historic corridor. 

Legislation incentivizing property owners to use signs was passed by the City Council in January as a part of Huizar's 10-year Bringing Back Broadway initiative introduced eight years ago.

The Historic Broadway Sign Supplemental Use District allows signs that will enhance and allude to the historic essence of the Broadway district, Huizar said, calling it “the heart of Los Angeles.”

Property owners who want to display signs of any kind must use historically accurate architecture elements, including vertical blade signs that were iconic in the corridor’s heyday, Huizar said. They're also encouraged to use neon for larger displays.

Huizar said these signs could mean more ad revenue. In order for property owners to receive revenue from advertisements featured on buildings in the area, the buildings have to be at least 75 percent occupied and cannot have code violations. 

"We sought ways not only to preserve historic signs and get them back to work... but we also saw this as an opportunity for property owners to invest in their older buildings," he said. 

The street has seen major changes in recent years, including a "road diet" that eliminated traffic lanes and the reopening of several of the area's historic theaters as entertainment venues and retail shops.

But, as Huizar pointed out, there is currently about a million square feet of available space on the upper floors of buildings lining Broadway.

Huizar said that he believes that along with previously passed legislation, such as the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance for commercial properties that states older buildings are not subject to the same zoning and code requirements as other construction projects, this will incentivize property owners to invest.

"It's just one other tool in the toolbox for Broadway's economic development and revitalization," Huizar said. 

Read the entire ordinance here: