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Chicago Mayor Emanuel terms Trump's tower sign 'tasteless'

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Two outsize egos are sparring over a Chicago landmark, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel complaining that Donald Trump has put an "architecturally tasteless" sign on the city's second-tallest building - a display of giant letters spelling out the real estate tycoon's name.

"Mayor Emanuel believes this is an architecturally tasteful building scarred by an architecturally tasteless sign," spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said on Thursday.

Trump is installing the 20-foot-high (6-meter-high) letters on the 96-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in the nation's third-largest city. The sign was nearly complete Thursday afternoon.

Trump said that he was surprised that Emanuel didn't like the sign, since his administration had approved it. Trump noted that it had given work to Chicagoans.

"It's a very popular sign - people are loving it," Trump said in an interview.

The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic, Blair Kamin, noted that the stainless steel letters, which rise more than 200 feet (61 meters) above the ground, "loom over a venerable cluster of 1920s skyscrapers" and threaten to spoil the view for the ongoing expansion of Chicago's Riverwalk, a key Emanuel project.

The mayor's office said the sign had already been reduced in size and scope, but that he has asked his staff to see if there are any options available for further changes.

Peter Hill, 58, an instructor at the Illinois Institute of Art and a photographer, said he liked the sign and thinks Chicagoans will adjust.

"People don't like to see the city change," said Hill, who had been walking near the tower. "But they'll get used to it."

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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