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Six months after reopening, Hotel Northland receives approvals for a sign

Hotel Northland in downtown Green Bay. (Photo credit: WLUK)
Hotel Northland in downtown Green Bay. (Photo credit: WLUK)
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GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- It's been six months since Green Bay's Hotel Northland reopened its doors, but one thing has been missing from the historic property: a sign.

“It's going to be a 70-year-old looking sign,” said Nick Lison of Jones Sign Company, the company hired to construct a sign for the hotel.

It took about $50 million to restore the hotel to its former glory as Green Bay's luxury hotel.

General Manager Kenny Didier says the absence of a sign wasn't overlooked or a way to save some of that money.

“It’s been a process to get the sign in, get the sign approved, and get it installed,” said Didier.

A sign just like one from the 1940s will soon sit atop one of the Hotel Northland’s canopies, after having to receive federal, state, and city approval.

“So it's important that any new signage not negatively impact the historic integrity of the building, so as to maintain the National Register listing and eligibility of the property,” said Jason Flatt, a historic preservation specialist for the city of Green Bay.

Having received federal and state tax credits for its restoration, the Northland is still in a 60-month window where it must receive National Park Service approval for building enhancements like a sign. It received the go-ahead despite some historical inconsistencies.

“In general, the Secretary of the Interior Standards say that you shouldn't be mixing elements from different eras that didn't at some point co-exist during the history of the building,” said Flatt.

Among concerns the city raised was the new sign will be put on the canopy on Pine Street, despite the 1940s sign being on top of the canopy facing Adams Street.

The hotel's canopies are also replicas from the 1920s. They were replaced before the Northland sign was put up in the ‘40s.

“This is nitpicking stuff as the National Park Service and State Historic Preservation offices have already weighed in on this, so landmark staff recommends approval,” Flatt told the city’s Landmarks Commission before it unanimously passed the Northland’s sign request Wednesday afternoon.

“It was talked about, but it will have the same effect there on the Pine Street canopy,” said Lison.

Didier expects the sign to add to what has already been what he calls a successful reopening.

“I think it's just going to continue to build over time,” Didier said of the Northland’s business.

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The neon sign will be about 6 feet by 22 feet. It should be up in late September or early October.

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