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Signs for Wells Fargo buildings advance

There will be building signs but no roof signs, at least not so far, on the proposed Downtown East office towers.

There will be building signs but no roof signs, at least not so far, on the Downtown East office towers that are expected to house Wells Fargo.

But don’t rule out roof signs getting approved at some future date for the buildings adjacent to the new Vikings stadium. 

Currently, roof signs are illegal in Minneapolis, but city staff has been asked to review those rules with the possibility that the signs could become legal, following possible changes to city ordinances next year.

The signage agreement, as approved Monday by the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee, calls for wall signs on the east and west ends of side-by-side office buildings with additional wall signs on the south, facing the proposed park.

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The signs would be 300 square feet each and would be 200 feet above ground level, according to Mike Ryan of the Ryan Cos.

This is a variance from current city code, which limits wall signs to 120 square feet.

Wells Fargo had expressed concern about the sign limits and suggested it might not go forward with the plan if signs were banned.

“This is acceptable to Wells Fargo,” said Ryan after the meeting. “The east, west and south side signs are good for Wells Fargo and for us.”

The committee also approved narrowed the sidewalk width along the edge of a stand-alone residential building along 5th Street adjacent to the light rail. The former 20-feet width, which would have required a 9-foot setback, was reduced to 15 feet 7 inches.

“If the building were to be set back an additional 9 feet, we would most likely want the public park to be set back 9 feet,” said Hilary Dvorak, the city’s principal planner for the project. She suggested that changing a sidewalk width mid-block could be a problem for those covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Two more City Council committees are scheduled to discuss the Downtown East project this week with a Friday vote by the full Council. Community Development will consider the plan at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by the Ways and Means/Budget Committee at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. All meetings take place in Room 317 of City Hall.