What’s in a name? If it’s Trump, alderman wants it gone

Gilbert Villegas ordinance would remove 3K sf sign from Trump International tower

Chicago /
Jan.January 13, 2021 01:25 PM
Photo illustration of Alderman Gilbert Villegas with the Trump International Hotel & Tower. (Getty, Trump Hotels, Gilbert for Chicago)
Photo illustration of Alderman Gilbert Villegas with the Trump International Hotel & Tower. (Getty, Trump Hotels, Gilbert for Chicago)
 

Days may be numbered for the 3,000-square-foot “TRUMP” sign that has been affixed to the Trump International Hotel & Tower along the Chicago River.

Alderman Gilbert Villegas said he would introduce an ordinance to yank the 20-foot tall sign from the skyscraper at 401 North Wabash Avenue, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Villegas’ measure would prohibit a person convicted of treason, sedition or subversive actions from doing business with the city, according to the report. That would include having a sign permit. The House of Representatives was expected to vote on President Donald Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday, although conviction in the Senate is far from certain.

Villegas said the Trump sign “just doesn’t represent Chicago’s values.” He added of his legislation, “We’re not sure how legal it is, but at the end of the day, sue us,” he told Crain’s.

Following last week’s mob insurrection at the Capitol that was stoked by the president, the Trump Organization has faced mounting challenges. Cushman & Wakefield, which handled retail leasing at Trump International, said Tuesday night “it would no longer do business with the Trump Organization.”

JLL, whose listing agreement to sell the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., expired, also said it would stop doing business with the firm. Banks and political allies, too, have sought to distance themselves from the president, while New York City on Wednesday said it would exit its business deals with Trump. The firm said it would sue to collect the $30 million remaining on those contracts.

Trump signs have been disappearing from buildings and public recreation areas in New York over the past few years, including at two skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park — perhaps to avoid scaring off customers in places where the president is not popular.

In other cases, residents upset with Trump have sought to remove displays of his name from their buildings. In 2019, the TRUMP PLACE sign was pulled off a group of condominium towers on New York’s Upper West Side.

The 98-story Trump International in Chicago has 486 condos, 339 hotel rooms and 70,000 square feet of retail space. Nearly all of that retail has been vacant since the building opened in 2009.

The city approved the massive Trump sign in 2014, the same year that a special district prohibited signs along the river from rising between the second floor and the roof, the Tribune reported. Four years later, signs were capped at 1,100 square feet, far smaller than the existing Trump sign, which had been grandfathered.

[Tribune, Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman  


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