Sign Company's Demise Will Not Delay Cedar Rapids Convention Complex Debut

By George Ford, Reporter

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By Jay Knoll

CEDAR RAPIDS — The sudden shutdown of a Cedar Rapids sign company with contracts for the U.S. Cellular Center and the Cedar Rapids Convention Complex are not expected to delay the planned opening of either facility.

Sign Productions, which closed March 6, was awarded a $48,480 contract late last year for exterior signs on the U.S. Cellular Center arena. It also received a contract from general contractor Miron Construction for interior signs in the Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.

Sign Productions also had been hired to install exterior signs at the newly renovated Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.

Andrew Meyer, president of Sign Productions, on March 7 met with representatives of Frew Development Group, the city's project manager for the $145.2 million project. Meyer told them that his company had shut down and no work had been done on the U.S. Cellular Center contract.

The contract had specified that the work must be completed by the first week of April.

"The resolution authorizing the contract with Sign Productions was terminated by the city council at its March 12 meeting," said Steven Bauer, vice president of construction management at Frew Development Group. "The contract was awarded to the No. 2 bidder, Lauretano Sign Group of Terryville, Conn., which agreed to hold to their bid price of $51,583.

"Our general contractor, Miron Construction, has had to find a new sign fabricating and installation company for the interior signs, and the company providing the exterior signs for the Double Tree by Hilton has needed to find a new installer.

"Needless to say, these things happen, but the timing could not have been worse. Everyone who was dealing with Sign Productions is scrambling to fill those holes."

Bauer said Lauretano has indicated it will have all the signs completed and installed by mid-May. A spokesman for Miron Construction said the company is negotiating a contract with CR Signs of Cedar Rapids to fabricate and install the interior signs.

Bauer said he has been assured everything should be ready for a planned June 1 opening of the U.S. Cellular Center and Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.

Sign Productions employed about 85 in September 2010 when it moved to a new 83,000-square-foot building at 500 Walford Rd. SW off Interstate 380. The 28-year-old employee-owned company had been operating in three leased facilities after its office and manufacturing plant at 1010 First St. NW was destroyed by the June 2008 flood.

Meyer, contacted about the closing of Sign Productions, said the company's assets are held by Liberty Bank and declined further comment.

An employee of Liberty Bank's downtown Cedar Rapids office wouldn't comment on the status of Sign Productions. She also refused to reveal any details when asked if customers who had submitted signs for repair could retrieve them.

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