The panel voted Wednesday against the plan for billboards on the Municipal Services Building at 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd. and on the One Parkway Building at 1515 Arch St. Some of the ads would have overlooked the southeastern end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the lush fountain- and statue-studded thoroughfare that links core Center City with the cultural district surrounding the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The commission's move defers a decision on the first known attempt to place billboards on municipal buildings since the May 2013 passage of a bill sponsored by City Council President Darrell L. Clarke to allow ads on city-owned property.
During the hearing, commission chair Alan Greenberg read a letter from Clarke expressing support for the proposal, which the council president characterized as an "an alternative to raising taxes." Another letter read, from First Deputy Managing Director Brian Abernathy, expressed support from Mayor Kenney and estimated that the advertisements on the two buildings would generate $500,000 in revenue for the city.
Interstate Outdoor Advertising's president for development, Jeffrey Gerber, did not return a call after the hearing asking about plans for following the commission's decision, which allows the company to return with alternative proposals for ads at the two properties.