CHICAGO (CBS) — Regardless of what Mayor Rahm Emanuel or many other Chicagoans might think of the new TRUMP sign emblazoned on the side of the 96-story Trump International Hotel & Tower, it appears the sign is here to stay.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the mayor stood by his criticism of the 20-foot-high sign spelling out TRUMP as a “tasteless” addition to a beautiful piece of the Chicago skyline.
“It’s a very architecturally very tasteful building,” the mayor said. “I think the sign scars that architecture, beauty, and taste with a tasteless sign.”
Crews finished installing the last piece of the TRUMP sign on Thursday. The reflective stainless steel letters are illuminated from behind at night, about 16 stories above the Chicago River.
The City Council approved the sign last year, but the mayor’s office said Thursday he had asked his staff to explore options that might force Trump to remove the sign, but Emanuel said Friday he’s focusing on possible changes to city policy to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
“People come from all over the world and are just shocked by the beauty of our architecture, the beauty of our natural landscape – in a sense of both the lakefront, and the incredible river that runs through the city of Chicago, and all our parks,” Emanuel said. “I want to preserve that in a way that a city that develops along the route can do that, and so we’re going to be looking at things in the future.”
Though Emanuel did not specifically say he won’t try to find a way to force Trump to take the sign down, when asked what he could to to get the sign removed, he focused on preventing similar signs from being installed on skyscrapers in the future.
Trump has defended his sign, calling it “magnificent and popular.”
The building’s architect, Adrian Smith, also has criticized the sign, saying it hurts the image of both the building and the city.
Trump Tower is hardly alone in having a prominent sign displayed along the Chicago River. The Kemper Building, Boeing Headquarters, and Hotel 71 all have riverfront signs bearing their name. The Apparel Center also bears a two large signs for the Chicago Sun-Times, which is headquartered there.
The Chicago Tribune, which published the first column criticizing the TRUMP sign in a piece by architecture critic Blair Kamin, also has its name emblazoned on the side of the Tribune Tower, a sign also visible from the Chicago River.