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Signs up at Cole complex


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Vertical sign on The Cole at Third and Jackson streets in downtown Columbus, Indiana Sunday November 4, 2012. (Joe Harpring | The Republic)
Vertical sign on The Cole at Third and Jackson streets in downtown Columbus, Indiana Sunday November 4, 2012. (Joe Harpring | The Republic)

Vertical sign on The Cole at Third and Jackson streets in downtown Columbus, Indiana Sunday November 4, 2012. (Joe Harpring | The Republic)
Vertical sign on The Cole at Third and Jackson streets in downtown Columbus, Indiana Sunday November 4, 2012. (Joe Harpring | The Republic)


Signs identifying The Cole apartment complex in downtown Columbus are finally up, months after wrangling over their size and placement began, and reaction has been positive.

Asdrubal Vargas, who works across the street from The Cole at Cummins, said he likes the vertical signs. He said he thought they contributed to a variety of architectural styles of signage downtown.

“It’s not bad at all,” he said.

Susan Thayer Fye, a Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety member, expressed even stronger support.

“The current Cole signs sort of remind me of ‘Old Hollywood’ theater signs, which I feel is a good fit for the downtown area,” Fye said.

Buckingham Cos., developer of The Cole, started negotiating about the signs with members of the Columbus Plan Commission and the Board of Works in the spring. The main sticking point was Buckingham’s desire to have a protruding sign at Second and Jackson streets, the southeast corner of the $18 million apartment complex, which wraps around the parking garage. Apartments are expected to be leased to the first tenants early next year.

Opponents said a protruding sign at that location would mar the view of the Bartholomew County Courthouse for motorists as they enter the city from the Second Street bridge. Ultimately, the Board of Works vetoed the proposal.

Instead, Buckingham was approved for four wall signs, three of which are flush with the building. Besides the protruding sign, signs 18 feet tall and 2 feet wide have been placed on the south and west facades. The fourth wall sign, measuring 2 feet, 8 inches tall and 5 feet, 7 inches wide, has not been placed yet on the east side. The smaller wall signs have the same color scheme as the protruding sign.

“They’re bigger than I thought they’d be, but they’re not garish,” said Dick Gaynor, a plan commission member.

Dennis Henry looked up at the 24-foot-tall sign extending from the corner of The Cole apartments as he walked toward the Second Street parking garage after finishing work Thursday.

The protruding, vertical sign at the corner of Third and Jackson streets, with letters spelling out “The Cole,” puzzled him.

“Standing here, I wondered why it would be blocked by part of the light pole,” said Henry, a reliability manager with Cummins Inc., who works in the company’s Third Street offices by The Commons.

The protruding sign is black with white lettering and light green highlights on the edges and uses LED lights so it can be seen in the dark. However, a light pole blocks the L and E in the apartment’s name on the Third Street side of the sign.

“Other than (being partially blocked by the corner light pole), it’s just a sign,” Henry said matter of factly.

In a statement released through a public relations firm, Buckingham expressed that it was delighted to have signage in place after working with the city on the size and placement.

“This is one more step toward the project’s completion and one of the finishing touches that will welcome residents and guests to The Cole,” Buckingham said in the statement.

Other signage approved for The Cole includes:

  • One tenant directory sign (3 feet tall and 10 feet, 1 inch wide)
  • One window sign (10 inches tall and 1 foot, 8 inches wide)
  • Four real estate signs (two 8 feet tall and 2 feet wide, two 6 feet tall and 4½ feet wide)

Buckingham also intends to install four art pieces on the building, similar to the murals found on Hotel Indigo, 400 Brown St., Columbus. Three of them would be 24 feet tall and 5 feet wide, the fourth 6 feet tall and 9 feet wide.

The art pieces are not regulated by the city’s zoning ordinance because they do not contain commercial messages or corporate logos, said Jeff Bergman, director of the Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department.

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