Due to Open in a Tribeca Landmark, Bank Told Branding Goes Overboard

Detail of rendering of some of TD Bank's proposed signage for 287 Broadway. Only signs on the building's exterior were up for consideration by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. See story below for the full rendering. Credit: Core States Group 

Nov. 12, 2020

Tone it down, TD Bank. 

That was the message from preservationists over the signage proposed for a new bank branch coming to 287 Broadway, an 1872 cast iron landmark now undergoing renovation. 

The Tribeca bank will occupy a large storefront along Broadway and Reade Street, and TD’s branders want to make sure you don’t miss it. So they proposed to display their logo in abundance, inside the building and out, some on signs that don’t comply with city codes and require Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approval.

Before the Commission considered the proposal last month, Community Board 1 and its Landmarks Committee, advisory to the commission, weighed in with strong opinions of their own.

“It’s just too much,” said committee member Liz Lamere.

“This proposal is bombastic,” said Vicky Cameron.

“This is like an electric clown suit at night,” committee chair Bruce Ehrmann argued.

At issue were five square logo signs: two “blade” signs that would extend out from the building and three plaque-like signs to be mounted flat against the cast iron. Not “electric” by any means. But together with TD Bank’s bright and flashy lime green interior signage, meant to be seen from the street but not up for approval, the additional branding was over the top, the committee said.

“To ask us to approve two blade signs and a sign on a plinth in the corner is absurd when you have a green monster glowing in that whole corner of the landmark building,” Ehrmann said.

The proposal’s presenters, architect Bryan Giroux of Core States Group and lawyer Paul Proulx, defended the bank’s need to be noticed. “We took a very extensive look at how we could delicately brand this building because, with all retail, tenants’, branding is very important,” Giroux said, noting that the building, which originally housed a bank in the space, historically had large signs on the first and second floors. And Proulx defended the glow from the windows, not subject to the committee’s review, as “a source of safety on a dark night. It is bright, but that’s the point.”

Following its rejection from CB1, the proposal went before the Landmarks Commission last month, where the three logo plaques were rejected and the bracket signs approved. (Two of the 11 commissioners said they wanted all the signs removed.) 

Before the commissioners voted, one of them, John Gustafsson, summed up the assessment of most everyone who reviewed TD’s signage hopes. “They get a ton of branding,” he said, “and I don’t think anybody could come anywhere near the building without knowing exactly what’s going on.”