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Is Van Wagner Outdoor Back? —Project Outdoor-Chicago ‘integrated’

OOH Word On The Street Today

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Richard Schaps


Opinion Editorial
by Brent Baer, Publisher OOH Today

OOH Word on the Street Today


We are hearing and seeing via social media, Van Wagner Outdoor (VWO) is back! 

Some of you may recall, in October 2014, Van Wagner sold most of their inventory (est. 9,480 displays) to CBS Outdoor which is now Outfront Media for $690 million. At the time, it was reported the inventory generated total ad revenues of $206 million for Van Wagner in 2013.

Van Wagner is lead by Richard Schaps, Chairman CEO at Van Wagner Group. We recall in 1997, Schaps sold his first OOH company to Outdoor Systems, which is now also Outfront Media for $170 million and amazingly the next day hung his ‘sign’ back on the door to restart again. 

For a guy who said in 2007, he was lucky to get the chance to do it twice, 2020 could be the trifecta. Considering the current state of #OOH, perhaps it’s not too soon.

Could the 72 year old Schaps be revisiting an old playbook from previous years, by selling, waiting out the non compete and now rebuilding a new OOH juggernaut? Here’s a great story on Schaps from 2007 by Inc.⇒ How I Did It

Yesterday, we were told Project Outdoor-Chicago has ‘integrated’ with Van Wagner Outdoor.  It could be called a reunion if you will.  Walid Abu-Ghazaleh, founder of the recently integrated Project Outdoor, is now listed in his LinkedIn profile as Senior Vice President for Van Wagner.

Prior to Project, Abu-Ghazaleh was the General Manager for Van Wagner and is considered by many as the top lease person in the Chicago market for years.  Abu-Ghazaleh, who responsible for leasing key assets in his employment for Schaps in years’ past, has taken his former company, Project, over to Van Wagner Outdoor along with Zak Pala, now listed as the Director of Sales at Van Wagner Outdoor per Pala’s social media. Pala was with Project as National AE for nearly 3 years and prior with Starcom as Media Supervisor for 14+ years. 

As part of the playbook, one move could be to reclaim assets which were ‘sold’ with underlying lease agreements. In other words, Schaps may have kept the property and leased the structures, walls or faces to the assets buyer.  Additionally, we are aware of other major OOH markets’ Van Wagner may be considering as well as a top OOH Agency leader who could be adding to the VWO build out and management team.

Fast forward another 12 months and we may notice former VWO locations re-imprinted with the Van Wagner nameplate again.  

That’s the OOH Word on the Street Today.

Be safe out there.



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  1. Donna Gutierrez says

    Time to dig out my old Van Wagner ball cap.

  2. No Fear No Favor says

    Donna Gutierrez, that cap has to have some vintage value on the open market place. We are envious!

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