Billboard Company Proposes ‘Eastern Gateway’ on Sunset Blvd.

A rendering of the proposed gateway project. If approved, the actual sign would be designed by the city of West Hollywood.
A rendering of the proposed gateway project. If approved, the actual sign would be designed by the city of West Hollywood.

In the spot where the Marlboro man billboard once hung above the Sunset Strip, there may soon be a new sign—one extending a welcome to West Hollywood.

Steve Afriat of Afriat Consulting says that his client Larry Legg, owner of the property at 8225 Sunset Blvd. at Monteel, wants to create a gateway to West Hollywood that will include landscaping, a bench and public art as well as a billboard.

The “eastern gateway” project, adjacent to Pink Taco, will invoke the look of Palm Springs with uplit palm trees.

“[Legg] wanted to replicate that kind of a look,” Afriat said. “We want to create something special here. We want to do something iconic that people can point to.”

Afriat said that the project, which the City Council is expected to consider in September, would not cost the city any money. Legg would invest about $400,000 for landscaping and other improvements, including a new irrigation system.

The welcome sign itself would be designed by the city, Afriat said, but Legg would make a $40,000 contribution to fund that project.

Legg’s firm, E.T. Legg & Associates, is a major billboard company whose founder, Elmo Legg, helped create the Sunset Strip billboard culture. In the 1950s Legg purchased 8225 Sunset Blvd., which was built in 1926 by Preston Sturges, the famous screenwriter and director. When Legg purchased the property it housed the Players Club, a nightclub that once was home to celebrities such as Lana Turner and Fred Astaire and Clark Gable. Legg realized there was room next to the club and came up with the idea of erecting a billboard there.

Eventually it became the location of the Marlboro Man, perhaps the nation’s most famous billboard, which was removed in 1999 as part of a $206-billion agreement by cigarette makers to settle state lawsuits.

  1. Seriously, aside from the lobotomy jest, it seems too many entities are competing for the “Iconic” Gateway designation. The Townscape 8150 Sunset project thinks it will be the “Iconic Gateway’, the sad looking 8000 Sunset once thought it was, now a billboard with lights and palm trees invoking Palm Springs, will give people “something to point at”. This is not Palm Springs. This is just a pure and simple revenue grab that would be better typified by installing a giant cash register which can be iconic and historic at the same time given the tech age. Folks know they are on Sunset Blvd unless they are disconnected, drunk or both.

    WEHO already has iconic buildings on Sunset unless one has missed Sunset Towers, Chateau Marmont and a few other notable landmark structures. The natural gateway, Garden of Allah was demolished. Not everything needs to be the equvalent of Vegas or a theme park. What do you see when entering Beverly Hills? Quiet green signs that simply state BEVERLY HILLS. Perhaps when Mr. Legg is next in town from Florida, he can have Mr. Afriat simply drive him over to Beverly Hills and see for himself.

  2. Perhaps Mr. Legg might consider availing himself of a lobotomy. The city and location can do perfectly well without this nutty proposal. Residents in the area did not sign on for their community to be remade in the likeness of Vegas. They are the stakeholder”S” plural. Mr. Legg is one single commercial property owner and either before or after the lobotomy he might consult the neighbors to determine what THEY might appreciate. Thanking him in advance.

  3. Oh please. The “welcome sign” will include some plants, maybe a couple of palm trees and a bench (good for our homeless population) together with a paltry $40k for the city’s design expenses sounds like a pretty cheap bribe in exchange for a gigantic billboard. What kind of money does a sign like that rake in? Maybe $40k each month? The entire cost of the project will be recouped in less than a year.

    The article doesn’t specify the type of billboard, but I assume it will be electronic. It will be big enough and bright enough to be seen from outer space and eliminate the need for NIMBY neighbors (they will be labeled that if they object, right?) to turn lights on at night. I wouldn’t want to live near it.

    The Palm Springs Gateway advertises NOTHING. If you want a gigantic electronic “dynamic” billboard, look no further than the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa on the I-10 just west of Palm Springs.The whole top of the hotel lights up. It’s heinous and it can be seen for miles in every direction.

    This proposed “eastern gateway” looks like a merger of city “branding” with crass commercial advertisement. If the City is going to sell itself, then it should ask for 10% of the revenue.

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