In 2011, an ordinance created a new advertising district in Market East, permitting digital billboards on buildings whose owners agreed to do $10M in renovations to their properties. Finally last month, the Lit Brothers building at 701 Market St. became the first property to take advantage of the opportunity. The property is actually made up of a collection of buildings and stretches all the way to 8th Street. Historically, it housed the Lit Brothers department store. Today it's owned by Brickstone, the same developers that are building the major project on the 1100 block of Chestnut Street.

Lit Bros. building in 1984, a few years after the store closed. Image from Hidden City.

We knew the signs were coming, but we hadn't seen them in person until just last week. And while the building, as you can see in the photo above, has utilized rooftop signage in the past, it's definitely a different feel today.

Coming up 7th Street

Corner of 7th & Market

Looking at renderings of the signs from other sources, it looks like additional signage is coming soon, atop the building as it heads west toward 8th Street. It should be noted, the owners are not only putting money into the interior of their building, but also into the facade and immediate environs.

Looking west on Market Street

What do you think of the new digital signs? Are they a neat addition that brightens up the corridor? An appropriate tribute to the building's history? Or are they an abomination, commercializing a historic building? We're honestly still trying to figure out how we feel about it ourselves.