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Grand Central Terminal Apple Store could open in time for 2011 holiday season

post #1 of 19
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Pending final approval from New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority board on Wednesday, Apple plans to begin construction on a flagship store within Grand Central Terminal in hopes of opening the store before this year's holiday season.

MTA officials gave The Wall Street Journal an early look at Apple's plans, which will largely preserve the terminal's existing structure. According to the report, Apple paid the previous tenant, Charlie Palmer's Metrazur restaurant, $5 million to move out of the terminal's east balcony eight years early.

However, there are discrepancies regarding Apple's annual rent. The Journal says the iPhone maker will pay $1.1 million a year, while earlier reports had suggested a figure of $800,000 annually for the first ten years. Either way, Apple is clearly paying a premium for the store, as Metrazur reportedly paid just $263,997 a year.

[Apple's store] maintains Grand Central as the iconic structure and place that it is, the report noted Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut as saying during a meeting of the MTA boards railroad committee. Also announced at the meeting were plans for a Shake Shack restaurant.

I cant imagine why any kid in Westchester would want to do anything other than go into Grand Central and shop at Apple and eat at Shake Shack, MTA Real Estate Direector Jeffrey Rosen said.

A rendering of the proposed Apple store at Grand Central Terminal. | Credit: Rob Bennett/WSJ

Construction on the store is expected to begin immediately after Apple receives approval from the MTA board at its monthly meeting later this week and should take about four months to complete.

The completed store, which would encompass two adjacent balconies, is said to be a massive 23,000 square-foot location, roughly 3,000 square feet larger than the company's existing flagships.

As noted by The New York Times, Rosen said Apple executives worked with the police to figure out a plan for handling lines during product releases. One solution may be to setup spaces in the Northeast Passage for customers to wait. What we will not see are lines snaking around the concourse, he said.

A rendering of the proposed Apple store at Grand Central Terminal. | Credit: Rob Bennett/WSJ

Rumors of a GCT Apple Store emerged earlier this year. Apple's plans were briefly reported as canceled, but reports that the company was moving ahead with the store picked back up in May.

Apple reportedly submitted its formal bid to the MTA "in linen-lined boxes, as if it were a wedding present to transit officials."



Two other Apple stores within New York City will undergo major renovations this year. The company's iconic glass cube at the Fifth Avenue store is currently being reinstalled, while a planned expansion to the SoHo store has led Apple to begin preparations for a temporary location nearby.

The Grand Central Terminal store is just one of several high-profile retail outlets Apple is planning as part of a dramatic expansion through the end of 2011. The company plans to open 30 outlets in the September quarter, including a two-story flagship in Hong Kong's high-end International Finance Center Mall.

Even as Apple's rapid retail expansion continues, retail chief Ron Johnson will leave the company to take over as CEO of J.C. Penney. Johnson spent 11 years as senior vice president of retail at the company, working closely with CEO Steve Jobs to craft Apple's retail business into the success that it is today. Apple has said it is actively recruiting for Johnson's replacement.
post #2 of 19
The $800,000 Apple rent reported by other sources is approximately the difference between the $1.1 million rent reported by the WSJ and Charlie Palmer's $300,000 rent. It may be the earlier sources of the lower rent figure mistook the difference between new and old rents as Apple's new rent. I assume the numbers in the WSJ are the accurate ones since they appear to be drawn from a public presentation of the plans this Monday morning before the MTA's railroad committee.
post #3 of 19
I love the idea and I'm confident that Apple will respect the heritage of the building, but how are they going to deal with excessive volume from the computers and possibly iPod docks on display in the store?

The acoustics in there will definitely amplify any loud sounds. I wonder if they'll somehow limit the volume.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPedro View Post

I love the idea and I'm confident that Apple will respect the heritage of the building, but how are they going to deal with excessive volume from the computers and possibly iPod docks on display in the store?

The acoustics in there will definitely amplify any loud sounds. I wonder if they'll somehow limit the volume.

At the tiny Apple store I go to, the loudest noises are human generated, talking, walking, squeaking sneakers. Nobody ever seems to play music terribly loudly. The size is different, but there isn't much acoustical treatment in the store either, the ceiling is acoustical tile. Is all this very different at the bigger stores?
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

At the tiny Apple store I go to, the loudest noises are human generated, talking, walking, squeaking sneakers. Nobody ever seems to play music terribly loudly. The size is different, but there isn't much acoustical treatment in the store either, the ceiling is acoustical tile. Is all this very different at the bigger stores?

It's like a museum. They seem to be leaving a lot of space for people. This is not Best Buy decor.
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post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

At the tiny Apple store I go to, the loudest noises are human generated, talking, walking, squeaking sneakers. Nobody ever seems to play music terribly loudly. The size is different, but there isn't much acoustical treatment in the store either, the ceiling is acoustical tile. Is all this very different at the bigger stores?

I guess it's different for different stores. At the one I go to, I often find people playing music on the iPod docks, there are M-Audio keyboards hooked up to GarageBand and people are playing that too. I guess people will self-censor if it gets too loud for the vaulted ceilings of Grand Central.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPedro View Post

I guess it's different for different stores. At the one I go to, I often find people playing music on the iPod docks, there are M-Audio keyboards hooked up to GarageBand and people are playing that too. I guess people will self-censor if it gets too loud for the vaulted ceilings of Grand Central.

Which store is that?
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by city View Post

It's like a museum. They seem to be leaving a lot of space for people. This is not Best Buy decor.

The renderings are a lot more understated and respectful than I would have expected. No additional glass! Certain glass manufacturers were said to have been in a state of shock after the renderings were revealed...
post #9 of 19
So none of Ron Johnson's assistants are even being considered for the job? And paying Ron an absolute ton of money was not good enough to keep him at Apple. Oh well, maybe JC Penney will open an electronics department.

Other than the crowds, the worst part of an Apple store is the noise. Sound control should be a definite consideration in future designs.
post #10 of 19
Better get that space in Grand Central Terminal before JC Penny mysteriously snaps it up!

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPedro View Post

I guess it's different for different stores. At the one I go to, I often find people playing music on the iPod docks, there are M-Audio keyboards hooked up to GarageBand and people are playing that too. I guess people will self-censor if it gets too loud for the vaulted ceilings of Grand Central.

I imagine they'll just go with lots of Bose headphones and they won't have any docks on display.
post #12 of 19
Being a newly transplanted NYC resident, I'm hugely excited about this!

As an aside, I've never been in an Apple store that was full of noisy dock displays.
The stores in South Florida (Galleria Mall and Boca Towncenter) were full of chattering people, but never any music or Garageband jamming. At least whenever I was there...
post #13 of 19
That'll be one hell of an opening. I guess I should go and get another free Apple T-shirt. I've never been on the second floor of GCT, so it'll be a chance to see what it's like up there.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

Which store is that?

Actually I notice it often at two:

Toronto, ON | Eaton Centre

Toronto, ON | Yorkdale Mall
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPedro View Post

Actually I notice it often at two:

Toronto, ON | Eaton Centre

Toronto, ON | Yorkdale Mall

i never see garage band in the brighton uk store, i wish i would it might make a change from all the kids just facebooking on ipads and stopping me from actually being able to look at a product i want to and have the capacity to buy (unlike most children)
Ok i admit it i'm a Fanboy, and my opinions are alway's biast towards my love for apple
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Ok i admit it i'm a Fanboy, and my opinions are alway's biast towards my love for apple
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post #16 of 19
Wow! They're going to provide STOOLS for seating?? At my local Apple Store, the stools are removed to some back room right after class times are over. I'll bet that the stools in the renderings will be ephemeral as well.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMacGuy View Post

Wow! They're going to provide STOOLS for seating?? At my local Apple Store, the stools are removed to some back room right after class times are over. I'll bet that the stools in the renderings will be ephemeral as well.

They should serve drinks too and make the whole place an Apple Juice bar.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPedro View Post

Actually I notice it often at two:

Toronto, ON | Eaton Centre

Toronto, ON | Yorkdale Mall

Wow. I was at the Eaton store this afternoon and at Yorkdale last week after picking up a couple of iOS programming books at Chapters.

Nary a sound out of the ordinary. Lots of headphones in use. Same observation in Beijing and Shanghai last fall.

There used to a guy the came into the YD store virtually every day a couple of years ago to play/work on Garage Band. Loved to hear him, but the headsets were donned and/or the sound muffed if there were any chance it interfered with staff - customers.
post #19 of 19
“I can’t imagine why any kid in Westchester would want to do anything other than go into Grand Central and shop at Apple and eat at Shake Shack,” MTA Real Estate Direector Jeffrey Rosen said.
God.. I would never leave. (Mmmm. Shack Burger)

Still... There's something about the whole thing that I just don't feel too keen about; and the pictures don't make me feel better. Something to do with the store being in an actual "shared" open space (in the main area of a dedicated existing landmark, no less) rather than in it's own Apple self contained space(?) Other people's comments about the audio situation point-up part of what I'm feeling as well.
I just don't know. \
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