In the spot where the Marlboro man billboard once hung above the Sunset Strip, there may soon be a new sign—one extending a welcome to West Hollywood.
Steve Afriat of Afriat Consulting says that his client Larry Legg, owner of the property at 8225 Sunset Blvd. at Monteel, wants to create a gateway to West Hollywood that will include landscaping, a bench and public art as well as a billboard.
The “eastern gateway” project, adjacent to Pink Taco, will invoke the look of Palm Springs with uplit palm trees.
“[Legg] wanted to replicate that kind of a look,” Afriat said. “We want to create something special here. We want to do something iconic that people can point to.”
Afriat said that the project, which the City Council is expected to consider in September, would not cost the city any money. Legg would invest about $400,000 for landscaping and other improvements, including a new irrigation system.
The welcome sign itself would be designed by the city, Afriat said, but Legg would make a $40,000 contribution to fund that project.
Legg’s firm, E.T. Legg & Associates, is a major billboard company whose founder, Elmo Legg, helped create the Sunset Strip billboard culture. In the 1950s Legg purchased 8225 Sunset Blvd., which was built in 1926 by Preston Sturges, the famous screenwriter and director. When Legg purchased the property it housed the Players Club, a nightclub that once was home to celebrities such as Lana Turner and Fred Astaire and Clark Gable. Legg realized there was room next to the club and came up with the idea of erecting a billboard there.
Eventually it became the location of the Marlboro Man, perhaps the nation’s most famous billboard, which was removed in 1999 as part of a $206-billion agreement by cigarette makers to settle state lawsuits.