First National Bank sign lit up once again

An iconic landmark on the St. Paul skyline shines brightly once again. The owners of the First National Bank Building hosted a ceremony to celebrate the restoration of the 1st sign atop the building.

The sign has been dark since January when winter storms knocked out several of the neon lights. The new sign features more eco-friendly, economical and durable LED lighting.

“The previous owners used to spend somewhere between $20,000 - $30,000 a year replacing and repairing the neon and the transformers that go along with it,” said Scott Goltz, vice-president of Madison Equities, which owns the building.

Goltz admits he initially considered removing the sign altogether after the damage, but reconsidered after a community outcry.

“I had 20 phone calls from news media outlets that next morning from the community reaching out to them asking why it was out,” Goltz said. “At that point, we pretty much knew we had to figure something out.”

The solution was to spend $500,000 to restore the sign. The lights are encased in plastic and Goltz hopes the new system last 25 years without maintenance.

The sign replacement is part of a massive energy conservation project at First National Bank Building and two other buildings the company owns downtown.

“Everything that we do, we have to look at retrofitting,” Goltz said. “We’re using this opportunity to make it a better environment for our tenants.

The new system also enables the company to change the color of the sign from the traditional red on certain occasions.