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Controversial Verizon Center sign project gets green light

Thursday - 3/7/2013, 2:19pm  ET

WASHINGTON - The Verizon Center is about to get a whole lot brighter.

After a two-year fight, the arena's owners have received approval to install two digital advertising signs. And despite lingering concerns about the bright light the signs will emit, construction is set to begin in several weeks.

The Washington Post reports that the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs approved the permits for the signs this week.

Neighbors opposed the signs, arguing the light would be a distraction and an intrusion into nearby homes.

"Resident have seen lights at Gallery Place from three blocks, four block away," says Nanette Paris with the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

She says residents moved to the neighborhood because they liked it the way it was, without the bright signs.

But Verizon Center's owners argue the 23-by-45-foot signs will improve the exterior of the building and won't cause problems for neighbors.

"They're going to transform the look of the building so that it's vibrant and exciting," owners' representative Randall Boes tells WTOP.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment, led by Ted Leonsis, owns the arena and the Capitals hockey and Wizards basketball teams.

Selling the signs' ad space will also generate revenue for the company. And permits are pending for additional signs.

WTOP's Nick Iannelli contributed to this report. Follow @NickWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

© 2013 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.