A medical software company won the right to put a sign over their new headquarters in the former IBM building.
City council voted 4-1 to overturn a decision against the sign requested by Modernizing Medicine. The new sign will probably go up in early March, the company told Boca Voice. The city’s strict Community Appearance Board voted against granting the firm a sign permit.
When the appeal came before the city council, speakers argued the building is historic and the sign would ruin the aesthetics. The personal computer was developed there. Renown architect Marcel Breuer was the designer, said Boca Raton architect Doug Mummaw. “We should respect the legacy of our city and IBM,” he told the council. “It’s a wall sign. We can do better than that.”
CAB chairman Mark Jacobsen defended the 6-1 no vote. “I don’t think a sign is needed on this building,” he told the council. “What happens when all the tenants want to put a sign above their door?”
Local firm Crocker Partners bought the renamed Boca Raton Innovation Campus last spring. There are now 36 tenants, said Crocker’s general manager Danielle Vennett. “I understand the concern about a sign affixed to the building,” she said. “We continue to make improvements to pay respect to Marcel Breuer and IBM.”
City Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke was the dissenting vote on council. Before the vote, city staff showed prior permits for similar signs and recommended the CAB decision be reversed.
“The city has not designated the site/building as historic,” a staff report said.
The CAB doesn’t have the authority to turn down a sign permit when city code allows a sign. Staff recommended updating the city’s sign code. City manager Leif Ahnell said that could be done by April.
Modernizing Medicine expanded from a startup to move into larger headquarters late last year, promising 800 new jobs. It now serves 13,000 specialty physicians and 100,000 health care professionals, according to its web site.
Here’s the full statement Modernizing Medicine’s CEO and co-founder Daniel Cane sent Boca Voice:
“We have been working closely with the city of Boca Raton, BRIC management and others to come to an agreement that not only respects Boca Raton’s past but also represents its present and future.
“Boca Raton’s history of innovation dates back almost a century, and relocating our new headquarters to the historic building built by world-renowned architect Marcel Breuer and that housed IBM was no coincidence.
“Boca Raton’s evolution as a major market is illustrated by downtown’s growth, the flourishing Midtown and the economic impact companies like Modernizing Medicine are making.”
By Marci Shatzman