Details are few at the moment, but for reasons not entirely clear, the Coca-Cola Company has decided to pull down the iconic neon sign that has stood beside I-80 in SoMa since 1937.
The news went up on Reddit on Sunday that preparations are being made this week to dismantle the flashing, old-timey electric beauty and remove it for good. According to a Facebook post that was reposted by the Bay Area Memes account, the Coca-Cola Company "no longer wants to pay the rent for the rooftop" at 701 Bryant Street, upon which the sign stands.
BrokeAss Stuart was able to confirm with the sign company, YesCo, that is doing the removal that the Coca-Cola Company is ordering the removal and stipulated in the contract that the sign be destroyed upon removal. (Update: KPIX has also confirmed the news via the Department of Building Inspection.)
It seems strange that Coca-Cola would take such a step with a sign so historic and beloved, but maybe there is upkeep to worry about, and perhaps the view of the two-sided sign isn't going to be clear for long due to development plans in the neighborhood.
The historic sign, which stands near the SF Flower Mart and was first installed the year the Bay Bridge was completed, was replaced with a more technologically advanced LED version in 2009, suggesting that the Coca-Cola Company was invested in keeping this brand icon in place a decade ago.
At the time, Coca-Cola marketing executive Bea Perez said, "For decades the historic Coca-Cola sign has greeted those crossing the Bay Bridge and those who live and work nearby with a warm welcome to San Francisco. It is our desire for the new energy efficient and technologically advanced sign to offer the same hospitable message."
But we know the Flower Mart is also not long for this world, with a fairly massive new development going in at Sixth and Brannan in the coming years, and that includes one tower building that will stand significantly higher than the Coca-Cola sign — and perhaps this was a consideration when deciding whether to renew their lease for the rooftop where the sign lives.
So, like the also iconic (but much younger) Yahoo billboard did a few years back, this longtime fixture along the freeway will be a thing of the past.
Apparently the removal is beginning today, Monday, as we speak.
Top photo: The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.