Iconic Pillsbury sign may be refurbished with LED lights

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March 26, 2014
By: Ben Johnson
What the Pillsbury sign would look like after being refurbished
Ben Johnson

Dark since 2010, one of Minneapolis’ most famous riverfront signs may light up once again.

A proposal to refurbish the “Pillsbury’s Best Flour” sign that sits atop the red tile elevator at the former Pillsbury A-Mill complex with new LED lights will be discussed at the April 1 Heritage Preservation Commission meeting.

Beneath the sign, a $150 million renovation that will transform the complex into 251 apartments began last November.

The first Pillsbury sign was constructed in 1920, but that was replaced in 1940 with the current sign, which stands approximately 30 feet tall and is outfitted with red neon lights. In 2010, then-building owner Schafer Richardson stopped lighting the sign after an agreement with General Mills (the parent company of Pillsbury) to keep it lit expired.

St. Paul-based Lawrence Sign would perform the restoration. They are proposing to replace the sign’s rusted back cabinets and maintain about half of the existing steel letter structure. The size, shape and color of the sign would remain identical to its current form.

According to Lawrence, the new LED lights use 5-10 times less power than neon, resulting in an annual savings of over $14,000 in energy costs.