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Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
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Skyscraper’s lights honored Shriners, not Ghana — sort of

TAMPA — The dome atop downtown Tampa’s SunTrust tower honors sports teams and special events with its multicolored, digital light display.

So as the U.S. team opened World Cup play Monday night against Ghana, soccer fans might have been puzzled to look up and see the skyscraper’s dome aglow in stripes of red, yellow and green.

Those would be the colors of the Ghana flag .

At one time, they also were the colors of Shriners International — the service organization headquartered on Rocky Point that the 500-foot-high LED display was intended to honor.

“Basically it’s a coincidental thing,” said Melissa Cronk, assistant general manager for Jones Lange LaSalle, which manages the 36-floor SunTrust Financial Centre.

Cronk said many nonprofits reach out to the building managers to have their colors showcased. Shriners was one of them.

But Shriners will be looking for a do-over: It’s been years since red, yellow and green were the colors of the organization, said Fabiana Lowe, public relations and media manager.

Ever since the fraternal organization reorganized into Shriners International, the official hue has been “fez red” — the color of the group’s distinctive, tassled hats.

A request was indeed made to feature Shriners International on the SunTrust dome in recognition of its 2016 convention in Tampa. Whoever chose the colors, though, was working with old information.

There will be future opportunities to feature Shriners in lights again.

“We’re hoping at that time they’ll use fez red,” Lowe said.

Meantime, red, yellow and green were scheduled for display atop SunTrust on Monday with no thought of the World Cup — much less red, white and blue, said Cronk, who isn’t following the soccer tournament in Brazil.

“We will be more mindful of those things in the future,” she said.

People who saw Ghana in lights let their American voices be heard on social media. To be proactive, Cronk’s office sent a memo to building tenants explaining the color mixup in case they receive complaints.

Cronk said the schedule for the dome can be found on the SunTrust Lights Facebook page. On Tuesday night, it SunTrust blue.

And Sunday, when the U.S. team plays Portugal?

“Our plan is to have the colors change to red, white and blue.”

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