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Boston’s Beloved Citgo Sign Might Be Getting Priced Out of Its Home

This isn’t the first time Bostonians have had to fight to keep it.

The Citgo sign may be in the sunset of its life.
The Citgo sign may be in the sunset of its life. David Van Horn/CC BY 2.0

Boston’s beloved neon Citgo sign may have finally run out of gas, if their landlords have anything to say about it. As The Boston Globe is reporting, the huge, historic sign, which has become a landmark for city residents, is now in danger of losing its rooftop realty if it doesn’t pay higher rent.

When Boston University sold the building at 660 Beacon, atop which the sign is perched, last October to New York real estate firm, Related Beal, it was clear that there would need to be some discussion about the iconic logo’s future. The sign sits near the end of the Boston Marathon and is a prominent feature in the backdrop of Fenway Park, making its airspace highly valuable to marketers, and Related Beal knows it. According to the Globe, Citgo currently pays $250,000 a year to keep the sign in place, but Related Beal is asking for ten times that.

Currently the real estate firm is in negotiations with the petroleum company to see if they can reach a compromise. Meanwhile, Boston isn’t taking the possible loss of the sign lying down. The Boston Landmarks Committee is currently reviewing a proposal to give the sign landmark status so that it might have extra protections should the negotiations go south.

Even then, the people of Boston aren’t likely to let the sign go easily either. It was previously saved in the early 1980s by public outcry when Citgo tried to remove the sign themselves.