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Apple's bid for marquee store in Grand Central Terminal nears approval

post #1 of 20
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Industry watchers called it a long-shot, but an elaborate proposal by Apple to embed an unusual retail store within Manhattan's historic Grand Central Terminal is now expected to receive the green light by month's end.

The formal bid, reportedly submitted to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority by Apple "in linen-lined boxes, as if it were a wedding present to transit officials," calls for a high-profile shop on the terminal's balconies overlooking the main hall.

A few months ago, a report citing a source within the MTA suggested that Apple had abandoned plans for the 16,000-square-foot shop because the company faced a "long approval process" given its desire to place the store within the city landmark, as opposed to the station's pre-designated retail spaces.

But as recently as May, a spokesperson for the MTA said it was putting out bids for a "marquee space" within the terminal and that it hoped Apple would proceed with a bid on the location. The Cupertino-based electronics maker did.

Now, a person familiar with matter now tells the New York Times that the MTA's board is "expected to approve the deal as early as next week, at its monthly board meeting."

While the report offered no further details, earlier coverage of the matter said the MTA was seeking a single renter for two adjacent balconies on the north and east sides of the terminal. One of the balconies was home to Charlie Palmer's Métrazur restaurant, but that business closed July 1 as Palmer reportedly received a "substantial sum of money" to vacate.



Because the terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan is a city landmark, any changes to the interior must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The site bid on by Apple offers 15,230 square feet of space, a size that's roughly 5,000 square feet smaller than the company's other retail outlets in the city.

In addition to hosting tens of thousands of wealthy commuters from Connecticut's Gold Cost and Westchester County each and every day, Grand Central Terminal is a tourist magnet due to its Beaux-Arts architecture and arched, constellation-dotted ceiling.

As such, some retail experts believe a Grand Central store could prove even more popular than Apple's iconic Fifth Avenue location, which is marked by a large glass cube for its above-ground entrance, and is open 24 hours a day.
post #2 of 20
The photos shows Christmas wreaths hanging on the wall... ai is too getto to get their own pic.
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post #3 of 20
At least this is a marquee store, and not a flagship one.
post #4 of 20
This will certainly make my impulse buys at the Apple store much more frequent.
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post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve's son View Post

The photos shows Christmas wreaths hanging on the wall... ai is too getto to get their own pic.

I'm gonna make a wild guess and say AI is based out of SF and not NYC. Much easier to use a stock photo than flying into NY to take one.
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post #6 of 20
This is kinda a neat shot of Grand Central - I wonder if Apple will be donating hardware to make the Information desks fit their branding - maybe a few fixed iPad emplacements etc



Source: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...d.php?t=955308
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

This is kinda a neat shot of Grand Central - I wonder if Apple will be donating hardware to make the Information desks fit their branding - maybe a few fixed iPad emplacements etc

Good idea! They could replace that old clock in the middle with a giant apple too...
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post #8 of 20
I still don't quite believe it. That space does not lend itself to retail. It's on the balcony and very narrow - I doubt whether it's more than 20 to 25' deep. As the interior of GCT is landmarked, Apple cannot put up any interior walls. And there wouldn't be any "back of the store" space. I simply don't see how this space can work for Apple. And I think there would be objections from those who see a restaurant as "public space" but wouldn't see an Apple store as "public space". Since the renovation, non-restaurant retail has been banned from that main hall of the terminal. Retail was permitted only in the corridors leading to the main hall.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Good idea! They could replace that old clock in the middle with a giant apple too...

I was thinking it should at least be updated

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

I still don't quite believe it. That space does not lend itself to retail. It's on the balcony and very narrow - I doubt whether it's more than 20 to 25' deep. As the interior of GCT is landmarked, Apple cannot put up any interior walls. And there wouldn't be any "back of the store" space. I simply don't see how this space can work for Apple. And I think there would be objections from those who see a restaurant as "public space" but wouldn't see an Apple store as "public space". Since the renovation, non-restaurant retail has been banned from that main hall of the terminal. Retail was permitted only in the corridors leading to the main hall.

I'd say an Apple store is at least as much public space as a restaurant, after all people can hang around in an Apple store for free, and in my experience they frequently do.

If it's going into an old restaurant space they can put the storage wherever the old kitchen was.

I'm sure the practical problems are solvable - and technically I'm not sure if an Apple store counts as retail, it's really more of a religious space, which seems appropriate in a cathedral to commuting.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

I still don't quite believe it. That space does not lend itself to retail. It's on the balcony and very narrow - I doubt whether it's more than 20 to 25' deep. As the interior of GCT is landmarked, Apple cannot put up any interior walls. And there wouldn't be any "back of the store" space. I simply don't see how this space can work for Apple. And I think there would be objections from those who see a restaurant as "public space" but wouldn't see an Apple store as "public space". Since the renovation, non-restaurant retail has been banned from that main hall of the terminal. Retail was permitted only in the corridors leading to the main hall.

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post #12 of 20
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Originally Posted by city View Post

You can do a lot with glass!

Yes you can. Being a huge squash fan I'd prefer if we do this instead of an Apple store.

No offense to non squash players.

post #13 of 20
2nd floor ?? old train museum ??

9

where would the store go ??

3 levels down ??
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post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by alwzn4vr View Post

Yes you can. Being a huge squash fan I'd prefer if we do this instead of an Apple store.

No offense to non squash players.


Grand Central Terminal has had squash tournaments, but in Vanderbilt Hall, obviously not in the main terminal hall.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

2nd floor ?? old train museum ??

9

where would the store go ??

3 levels down ??

Up in the balcony at the top of the east steps where the Metrazur restaurant was located until a few weeks ago. The Michael Jordan restaurant still occupies the other half of the balcony. But as I posted, I still don't believe it.
post #16 of 20
I wonder if this is a case of Apple bidding for the space, or GCT begging Apple to lease it. If the situation is anything close to that in Cupertino, then the latter scenario is more likely.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

I wonder if this is a case of Apple bidding for the space, or GCT begging Apple to lease it. If the situation is anything close to that in Cupertino, then the latter scenario is more likely.

What part of "Apple's bid" didn't you understand? The MTA does not need to beg anyone to rent out the space to. Its a year round tourist attraction plus the end/start point for the ridiculously rich.
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post #18 of 20
One of the balconies was home to Charlie Palmer's Métrazur restaurant, but that business closed July 1 as Palmer reportedly received a "substantial sum of money" to vacate.

====================
That's what I would like from my landlord. A substantial sum of money to vacate.
post #19 of 20
I commute through GCT every day and I am torn by this proposition. I consider Grand Central to be the heart of the city and one of the greatest public spaces in New York. It should be protected from the trend's that make every place where people gather the next 'Citi Field'. The presence of the Apple logo will change the nature of the space (does anyone remember the Kodak super-graphic that used to occupy the very same balcony). On the other hand Apple is one of the rare companies who's retail brand may be a match for this great space. I only hope that Apple pulls it off with the class and elegance Grand Central deserves. Given their proven history of iconic architecture & design I believe they can do it.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Creative View Post

II only hope that Apple pulls it off with the class and elegance Grand Central deserves. Given their proven history of iconic architecture & design I believe they can do it.

Apple is far more willing to blend in than people realise, when the local architectural environment demands it.

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