sign renovation examples headerWhat’s the Cost for Retail Center Sign Replacement?

October 2013 Digital Messaging-Shopping Center EMC's JD final photosLOSING THE DAZZLE?

  If your shopping center’s signs have been around more than ten years, this article may help you ponder a sign renovation project. Replacing or upgrading signage at shopping centers is a good way to turn humdrum entrances and storefronts into dazzling attractions. Styles change and weather just does what it does to deteriorate their former glow over time. Even if your current sign system hasn’t been around too long, it always makes sense to renovate if the change will have a profound influence on attracting more business.


  The typical shopping center signage package consists of:

  • Free-standing project ID signage: The free-standing signs at the center entrance(s) is/are usually the large pylon or monument type. To renovate a pylon, the outer shell is stripped off to the steel and concrete structure and, if in good shape, a new sign is slipped over the old bones. The average cost to renovate a free-standing sign within our service area varies but examples below can give you a better feel for the average cost ranges of typical projects. Adding a digital component increases the investment and potential for better communications and more business for tenants. Renovating monuments usually costs less than pylons.

sign renovation examples rockwood before after pylon

A total investment of about $73,000 renovated two entrance pylons and a row of tenant wall signs at Rockwood Square, providing a modernized look that gets the attention of both customers and prospective tenants. Prior to the makeover, the center had a high vacancy rate, but after all the renovations it is now 98% full, much of which is attributed to new signs!


June 2014- Branding- Shopping Center Repositioning brook hill

These dated Brookhill Azalea center entrances were transformed into fresh, new multi-tenant identification signs that compliment each other and inspire customers to shop. The new signs allow tenants to broadcast 24-hr customized digital messages to potential shoppers passing by for an investment of about $55,000 a sign.


  • Pad site signage: Many shopping center properties with pad sites can have both free-standing signs and building-mounted signs at tenant pad site locations. Renovating signage at these sites ranges depending on what’s involved. Custom awnings, multiple sets of building-mounted channel letters, over-sized pylons, digital messaging, and parking lot directionals all add cost.
Augusta Health, of rapidly expanding Fishersville, Virginia, occupies a former Blockbuster Video building that they had us transform into a new outpatient clinic in Staunton, Va. We replaced the channel lettering and stripped the old blue awning fabric and replaced it with new maroon awnings with back-lit graphics advertising the clinic’s range of services. The total cost was less than $25,000 and work was fast-tracked to successfully meet their grand opening deadline.


  • Individual tenant store signs: Most retail center tenants use wall-mounted signs at their storefronts. The most popular tenant storefront sign type is channel letters. Store branding can also be conveyed using box signs, and then there are many other creative options including flush or three dimensional spot-lit signage, graphics painted directly on the wall, and custom awnings.
Channel letter signs are the most frequently used signage by shopping center tenants. There are many lighting options for various effects and letters can be individually mounted or attached to raceways that are usually painted to match the wall color. Channel letters are a very economical way to promote a store’s brand and merchandise. Contact us for quotes.


sign renovation examples-rockwood tenant signs
One way to improve an overall look is to keep tenant signs consistent and uniform regarding colors and layout. The new sign backgrounds are opaque, so at night all that is seen is the copy and the lighted sconces giving the retail center a classy look compared to the old hodge-podge image portrayed by standard illuminated white-background box signs.



  Here is a summary of the primary factors that drive the cost of shopping center sign renovations:


  • Quantity of signs
  • Size/Design/Height
  • Use of digital sign equipment
  • Condition of structure and foundation
  • Custom embellishments to be used


  • Quantity of signs
  • Size/Design/Height
  • Box Sign versus Channel Letter construction
  • Form of Lighting: Internally-Lit, Face-Lit, Halo-Lit, Non-Lit
  • Embellishments


Two Real-Life Retail Center Renovation Success Stories…



  Prior to its makeover, Rockwood Square Shopping Center had a high vacancy rate, but after all the renovations it is now 98% full, much of which is attributed to the new signs according to Gary Modjeska of AREA Properties. “Signs were a very, very important part of the repositioning of the property,” he said.

  Since the property was not a high end center, the client wanted signage that would not be too expensive for potential tenants. Gary worked with Holiday Signs to come up with a new design for the center’s signs. Before renovations, the center had plain, rectangular-shaped box signs with flat faces and poor hodge-podge designs. The client originally planned to replace everything with channel letters but asked us what we thought. We suggested nice design for box signs that would include some architectural amenities, and if there was a tenant change all that would need to be done is swap out a new face, keeping a new tenant’s costs down in the future versus them having to come up with money for a new set of channel letters.

  The Holiday Signs design team utilized an interesting lighting sconce detail for the box signs and the main pylons that tied all thesconce detail signage together. The detail also appears on the under-canopy signs as well. The owner liked the idea of keeping all the tenant signs consistent and uniform regarding colors and layout. Sign backgrounds are opaque, so at night all that is seen is the copy and the lighted sconces giving the retail center a classy look versus what they had before with standard illuminated white-background box signs. Adding simple architectural details and keeping all signs consistent in design supports a unified theme that is attractive to customers and has helped the center grow and thrive again after the re-imaging.

  By utilizing box cabinet signs for the center’s tenants versus channel letters, it makes them all consistent, easier to change, and less expensive than custom channel letters. If not a high end property, lower upfront costs attract and keep more long-term tenants, and there are many creative options to keep costs down while promoting a consistent and eye-catching sign design.


  Holiday Signs added two large full-color Electronic Message Centers (EMC’s) to an existing double-faced entrance pylon at Towne Center West of Richmond. It’s located next to a 1.3 million square foot Super Regional Center, so competition for shoppers is intense.

IMG_0357  Prior to adding the EMC’s, most of the inline tenants had limited visibility to the 25,000+ cars that pass by the center each day. They spent countless advertising dollars to draw customers into their shops, but only produced limited results. Anxious to increase their tenants’ visibility and draw in new customers, the developer hired Holiday Signs to help.

  Holiday Signs specializes in helping developers and shopping center management revitalize the signage for their centers. Many times we recommend updating signage with new designs, graphics, tenant panels or fresh paint but in this case the main identification sign was only a few years old. A thorough analysis suggested the addition of two new EMC’s to the existing pylon would give the tenants their much needed visibility.

  Once the EMCs were in place and the messages started rolling, tenants began to see an immediate increase in traffic to their stores.









Interested in cost ranges for various sign projects? Then, read these:

How Much Does a Digital Sign Cost?

What’s the Maintenance Cost of Digital Signs?

What’s the Operating Cost of Digital Signs?

What’s the Cost to Add Message Boards to Signs?

What’s the Cost to Upgrade Message Boards?

What’s the Average Sign Project Lead Time?

What’s the Typical Cost of Sign Renovation?