Boston is home to many iconic landmarks throughout the city; however, a highly recognized symbol of the skyline is the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square — an icon threatened by its new owners.
Last fall, Related Beal bought nine buildings from Boston University for $134 million in Kenmore Square. Controversy sparked over the preservation of the Citgo sign, for the new landlords wanted to raise the lease for the Citgo sign up by ten times the amount they paid before. Many members of the community, including students from Boston University, spoke out about the importance of this icon. In fact, an online petition was created in order to save the sign, and they ended up collecting over 16,000 signatures in favor of Citgo. For many, Citgo appears as the North Star — a constant, shining icon in the sky, guiding toward home.
Standing for 50 years, many rose in concern about the removal of this perceived landmark. The sign had recently been granted preliminary landmark status, which protects it from elimination until a study and vote was taken for permanent landmark status. While this was a step in the direction for preservation, Related Beal still fought for a higher lease.
The two sides of the deal came together to negotiate the deal at City Hall for 11 hours over two days, until they finally came to a compromise on Wednesday, March 15th.
Mayor Marty Walsh commented on the situation, applauding Related Beal and CITGO for their collaboration with this new deal, allowing for the Citgo sign to remain standing proud and bright. “The CITGO sign has become an important part of the community, and I am delighted that both sides were able to agree on terms that will allow the sign to stay where it is.”
Finally, Boston can sleep soundly knowing their beloved icon will remain atop the Kenmore Square building. While the details of this new lease have not been released, we know the sign will remain intact in the Boston city skyline.