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Will CivicSD approve Trump-like sign for old Sempra HQ?

Manchester Financial Group seeks vanity sign

Proposed Manchester sign design, facing east
Proposed Manchester sign design, facing east

Manchester Financial Group now owns 49 percent of the downtown building that formerly housed Sempra Energy, at 101 Ash Street. It bought the minority share in the property for $20 million, reported the San Diego Business Journal.

Manchester building before new signage

On July 24, Civic San Diego issued a “notice of future decision” to “approve, conditionally approve or deny an application for a Process Two Neighborhood Use Permit” from Manchester Financial Group for a “comprehensive sign plan” including high-rise signage at the 19-story property. A decision by CivicSD's staff is expected no less than 11 business days from the date of notice.

The design by Jones Sign Co., as submitted to CivicSD, shows the words Manchester Financial Group in 5-foot-high, all-capital letters extending 147 feet in width. The “M” logo above the words is 14-feet wide, and 7-feet high. The aluminum letters, on the building's east and west sides, will be illuminated at night with white LED lighting.

Portland, Oregon-based “Engineer of Creative Identity” Jeff Fisher has created award-winning logos for almost 30 years. I asked him to evaluate the logo and sign. Fisher said, “In over-inflating the size of the Manchester Financial Group text on the building, the “M” icon is greatly reduced in proportion – making it seem somewhat insignificant. The building treatment comes across as vanity branding, rather than effective signage.”

The design is similar to Trump building signage: large and bold but not especially creative. Allen Industries of Greensboro, NC, is one of the nation’s largest sign manufacturing companies. The Reader asked that company to comment on Manchester's signage design, but did not get any response.

The signage decision by staff can be appealed to the CivicSD board of directors. Appeal applications are available downtown at 401 B Street, Suite 400, during regular business hours.

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Proposed Manchester sign design, facing east
Proposed Manchester sign design, facing east

Manchester Financial Group now owns 49 percent of the downtown building that formerly housed Sempra Energy, at 101 Ash Street. It bought the minority share in the property for $20 million, reported the San Diego Business Journal.

Manchester building before new signage

On July 24, Civic San Diego issued a “notice of future decision” to “approve, conditionally approve or deny an application for a Process Two Neighborhood Use Permit” from Manchester Financial Group for a “comprehensive sign plan” including high-rise signage at the 19-story property. A decision by CivicSD's staff is expected no less than 11 business days from the date of notice.

The design by Jones Sign Co., as submitted to CivicSD, shows the words Manchester Financial Group in 5-foot-high, all-capital letters extending 147 feet in width. The “M” logo above the words is 14-feet wide, and 7-feet high. The aluminum letters, on the building's east and west sides, will be illuminated at night with white LED lighting.

Portland, Oregon-based “Engineer of Creative Identity” Jeff Fisher has created award-winning logos for almost 30 years. I asked him to evaluate the logo and sign. Fisher said, “In over-inflating the size of the Manchester Financial Group text on the building, the “M” icon is greatly reduced in proportion – making it seem somewhat insignificant. The building treatment comes across as vanity branding, rather than effective signage.”

The design is similar to Trump building signage: large and bold but not especially creative. Allen Industries of Greensboro, NC, is one of the nation’s largest sign manufacturing companies. The Reader asked that company to comment on Manchester's signage design, but did not get any response.

The signage decision by staff can be appealed to the CivicSD board of directors. Appeal applications are available downtown at 401 B Street, Suite 400, during regular business hours.

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Comments
16

Vanity branding is the perfect description for this signage. Why not add a 20 foot statue of "Papa" Manchester in the plaza to make absolutely sure everyone knows the primary tenant.

July 29, 2015

Shush, don't even suggest that! ;-)

July 29, 2015

Oh well, that's just a few feet shorter than the sign with five-foot-high letters plastered on the wedding-cake low-rise structure of the Mt. Soledad Cross announcing the name of the owner "memorial association." And that's in the middle of a public park. If you ask me, seeing "Manchester" is less offensive than being reminded of "Sempra Energy."

July 29, 2015

Sempra and their sign are still here, in their new HQ at 424 8th Ave.

July 29, 2015

More buildings etc named after political hacks and crooks.

July 30, 2015

Yes, including oil monopolist John D. Rockefeller Sr. and Rockefeller Center in NYC.

July 30, 2015

Waiting for the City Council to offer naming rights to the city. Hey if we called our not so little town Chargerville they would stay?

Sorry off topic.

July 30, 2015

I like the idea. Chargerville sounds quaint. It may work even if the Chargers leave Chargervill.

July 30, 2015

I think it would work even better if we changed it to Spanos City.

July 30, 2015

What do you think?

None

July 31, 2015

The area would then be referred to as Greater Spanopolis.

July 31, 2015

haha, good one!

July 31, 2015

As a reminder, public comment to CivicSD closes August 10. A decision is expected soon afterward.

Aug. 4, 2015

UPDATE: The comprehensive sign plan was approved today by the president of Civic San Diego.

Aug. 11, 2015

Even though Manchester sold his two-tower hotel sometime back for $millions, the contract requires that it stays the Manchester Grand Hyatt for a number of years. Now that's ego at work. At least the new owner is LGBT friendly.

Oct. 6, 2015

Manchester Financial no longer owns this building on Ash. The City acquired it, in a lease-to-own transaction. Manchester is now located at 2550 Fifth Avenue; it bought the building and has done extensive remodeling.

April 13, 2017

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