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Citgo sign’s fate hinges on outcome of rent dispute

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Oil company vs. developer

The fate of Kenmore Square’s Citgo sign hinges on the outcome of a rent dispute between the oil company behind the icon and the new owner of the building it bestrides.

Developer Related Beal bought that building at 660 Beacon Street, along with eight others, in late 2016 for $134,000,000. At the time of the sale, the company was under no obligation to retain the 60-foot-by-60-foot sign that has been atop 660 Beacon since 1965.

A movement to have the sign landmarked quickly arose, however, and the city is still weighing that option. Meanwhile, Related Beal has been mulling ways to preserve it, including relocating the sign to somewhere else in the neighborhood.

The developer has also been negotiating with Citgo, the oil company, on a new rental agreement for the sign’s current perch (where it’s been since 1965).

Turns out that the oil company received a sweet deal from previous owner Boston University that capped the annual rent for the rooftop space at below market rates—way below, apparently: Per the Globe’s Tim Logan, Citgo pays about $250,000 a year.

The space is actually worth in the neighborhood of $2,000,000 to $2,500,000, according to one analyst.

For now, Related Beal and Citgo are continuing talks on the sign’s fate atop 660 Beacon. The lease for that space was supposed to expire March 1, but Related Beal has extended it another month in hopes of reaching a resolution.

And if they don’t? It’s hard to see the Citgo sign disappearing from Kenmore Square altogether—the Walsh administration wants it to stay where it is—but it could yet come down from its home of 52 years.

Stay tuned.