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San Francisco Apple Store building sale breaks real estate records at nearly $50M

post #1 of 31
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Apple's existing San Francisco flagship retail store building has landed a deep-pocketed buyer as the company plans to move up the street two blocks to the former Levi's spot directly on Union Square.


Existing Union Square Apple Store selling for almost $50 million


According to a report by the San Francisco Business Times, the current One Stockton Apple Store building will change hands for nearly $50 million, or an incredible $3,000 per square foot.

The price sets a new real estate price record even for San Francisco's upscale Union Square shopping district, where properties have been trading for closer to still rather rarified $2,000 per square foot.

There's scant room in the neighborhood for retailers wanting to locate next to other high end brands, making Apple's own sourcing of the prime spot being vacated by Levi's even more fortuitous.

Apple has nearly outgrown the One Stockton spot (show above, behind the supposedly "minimal invasive" Central Subway construction). The store originally featured a theater that has since been removed to make space for more "One on One" training session tables.

The location sports a skylight perched above an all-glass staircase, but those showy steps also consume much of the building's functional central space. It also lacks windows outside of the ground floor frontage.

Moving on up



Apple plans to demolish the existing, triangular wedge building formerly used by Levi?s (portrayed below) and build a new store in its place, using a design reflecting the company's more recent retail palaces with wide open interiors fronted by walls of glass.

At the iPhone 5s unveiling earlier this month, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook called particular attention to the company's recently upgraded Stanford store, which similarly employs walls of glass that make its roof appear to hover (below).

New Union Square Apple Store


Apple has adjusted its Union Square building plans in response to San Francisco's committee-designed permitting process, which loves to micromanage the minor details of arbitrary projects that pique its interest, while rubber-stamping horrible building plans that don't.

New Union Square Apple Store


So far, the City's input has resulted in arbitrary changes to the planned building's front that mandate its glass front must be inset by a few feet, and stipulated a side window to break up the oppressive 20 foot high wall of steel Apple had intended to erect along Stockton.

The revised plan also portrays an existing folk art fountain behind the store, which became the subject of much hand-wringing and consumed more attention and concern than the City's boondoggle Central Subway currently being tunneled underneath the spot.

Construction of the multibillion subway stint has shut down Stockton Street in front of Apple's existing store for most of the past year. It someday plans to shuttle short trains from Caltrain to a new station directly on Union Square, and then a few blocks north to Chinatown, expanding a feeble transit system that is already being figuratively run into the ground through a lack of competent planning.
post #2 of 31
Not a fan of that large wall either, but if I had to look at that fountain I would avoid putting in a window too.
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post #3 of 31
When I look at the original plan and the revised one, I actually like the original. But I'm sure it's the render that isn't doing it 'justice'.
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post #4 of 31
$50 Million for a crappy old building just because it was an Apple store at one time? boggles the mind.
post #5 of 31
Maybe they should keep both locations.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #6 of 31
Apple-built things are known to have high resale value.
post #7 of 31
Purchased by Samsung. /s
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post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

$50 Million for a crappy old building just because it was an Apple store at one time? boggles the mind.

 

And you know that its the former Apple presence that resulted in that price... how?

post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple plans to demolish the existing, triangular wedge building formerly used by Levi?s (portrayed below) and build a new store in its place, using a design reflecting the company's more recent retail palaces with wide open interiors fronted by walls of glass.

At the iPhone 5s unveiling earlier this month, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook called particular attention to the company's recently upgraded Stanford store, which similarly employs walls of glass that make its roof appear to hover (below).
 
New Union Square Apple Store

With all that glass, surely they will be forced to reintroduce a matte screen option if they expect to sell any computers in the new store. /s

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post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
the City's boondoggle Central Subway

multibillion subway stint has shut down Stockton Street in front of Apple's existing store for most of the past year. It someday plans to shuttle short trains from Caltrain to a new station directly on Union Square, and then a few blocks north to Chinatown, expanding a feeble transit system that is already being figuratively run into the ground through a lack of competent planning.

 

emphasis mine.  This guy is NOT a fan of the subway.  Check. 

post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Purchased by Samsung. /s

 

I was thinking that. I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility.

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post #12 of 31

Geez, I though you guys were tech commentators not urban planners.

 

Your comments about the Central Subway, the Ruth Asawa fountain and the east wall of the original plan are completely dismissive of the views of many San Franciscans.  The objections to Apple's original plan did not come from the powers that be who were ready to sign up for whatever Apple wanted.  Rather they came from a groundswell of public opinion about Apple's first set of drawings.  The Norman Foster architects could have done much better homework.  They obviously had no feel for the civic attachment to the location or the Asawa fountain.

post #13 of 31
Originally Posted by rdrich View Post

Your comments about the… …fountain… …are completely dismissive of the views of many San Franciscans.

 

We have many here who’ve already weighed in to the negative, though. H. R. Geiger’s fountain doesn’t really have a place next to Apple engineering.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #14 of 31
If the hyperbole and fluff were removed from every DED story they might be worth reading. Is he paid by the word?

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GOA

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GOA

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post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

If the hyperbole and fluff were removed from every DED story they might be worth reading. Is he paid by the word?


I enjoy them.  Something more than just a spruced up tweet.

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post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 
Originally Posted by rdrich View Post

Your comments about the… …fountain… …are completely dismissive of the views of many San Franciscans.

 

We have many here who’ve already weighed in to the negative, though. H. R. Geiger’s fountain doesn’t really have a place next to Apple engineering.

 

In your mind nothing has a place next to Apple. But stop and think for a moment why Apple is building the store in San Francisco. The city is home to millions of diverse people with many different opinions and cultures. That is why Apple wants a store there, because of all the potential customers. Customers come in all shapes and sizes. They are not all futuristic silver spandex wearing space travelers. The most unattractive part of SF is the multitude of homeless street people. What if they decide to sit on the steps in front of the Apple Store. Should they be removed by the Police for detracting from the glorious Apple architecture?

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post #17 of 31
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

In your mind nothing has a place next to Apple.

 

Thanks for telling me what goes on in my mind. Nice to have an insider’s opinion for once. How’d you get that information, anyway?

 
But stop and think for a moment why Apple is building the store in San Francisco. The city is home to millions of diverse people with many different opinions and cultures. That is why Apple wants a store there, because of all the potential customers. Customers come in all shapes and sizes. They are not all futuristic silver spandex wearing space travelers. The most unattractive part of SF is the multitude of homeless street people. What if they decide to sit on the steps in front of the Apple Store. Should they be removed by the Police for detracting from the glorious Apple architecture?

 

What in the world is wrong with you. The question mark’s not there on purpose.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #18 of 31
Gotta be M$ or Samsung. Trying anything to emulate Apple...heh.
post #19 of 31
Damn, I was planning to open a Subway there! Crap!
post #20 of 31
New buyer is Samsung who will open a new concept: a standalone store. They began working on it years ago before Apple stole their idea.
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post #21 of 31
Why does AppleInsider pose editorials as news articles? Keeping the fountain and stairs, and adding a window on the Stockton side are both good pedestrian-oriented urban design moves - which is EXACTLY what the city should be concerned with. And this project deserves extra scrutiny due to its location in Union Square - a very pedestrian-oriented urban area. I love how you throw in an almost unrelated jab at the city's transit system, in a pathetic attempt to discredit the city entirely. Because HOW DARE anybody stand in Apple's way! Please, just stick to talking about things you understand... clearly not urban design.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Purchased by Samsung. /s

 

I was actually going to say purchased by one of the Chinese Apple Store knockoff companies ... and they won't change anything!

post #23 of 31
I think the cities additions are gorgeous especially the glass seperator in the otherwise "oppressive 20ft wall of steel". lol.

It'll be an amazing photo op standing between the two. Plus the entire building looks awesome from all sides and from above it kinda looks like a giant glowing electronic device.

Oh, and BURN on those last two paragraphs.
post #24 of 31
I really dislike the side wall on the Stockton street side for the new location. That side gets MUCH more traffic than the front that's facing Union Square. It would benefit Apple more with all the traffic on Stockton street being able to see directly inside, but I'm guessing placing another glass wall there would compromise the structure.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdrich View Post

Geez, I though you guys were tech commentators not urban planners.

Your comments about the Central Subway, the Ruth Asawa fountain and the east wall of the original plan are completely dismissive of the views of many San Franciscans.  The objections to Apple's original plan did not come from the powers that be who were ready to sign up for whatever Apple wanted.  Rather they came from a groundswell of public opinion about Apple's first set of drawings.  The Norman Foster architects could have done much better homework.  They obviously had no feel for the civic attachment to the location or the Asawa fountain.

There has been zero "groundswell of public opinion" about the plans, just one self important old media columnist prattling to himself about how beloved the ugly fountain in the shade of a hotel was.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

We have many here who’ve already weighed in to the negative, though. H. R. Geiger’s fountain doesn’t really have a place next to Apple engineering.


The fountain is by Geiger? Damn! Is it like a d**k or a pu**y?
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

$50 Million for a crappy old building just because it was an Apple store at one time? boggles the mind.

Not just because it was an Apple store, but because it is located on a corner with one of the highest levels of pedestrian traffic in the city. And despite the mess made by the Central Subway construction, it is also right next to the entrance to the much more extensive Bay Area Rapid Transit system. Some 'experts' doubted it was the best location when Apple first chose it. But a look at the pictures accompanying Apple's own store directory show only Manhattan's 5th Avenue store with more foot traffic outside.

 

The Market Street Improvement project and the Central Subway will be close to wrapping up in five years. The buyer is clearly thinking ahead.

post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by CityGuide View Post

Not just because it was an Apple store, but because it is located on a corner with one of the highest levels of pedestrian traffic in the city. And despite the mess made by the Central Subway construction, it is also right next to the entrance to the much more extensive Bay Area Rapid Transit system. Some 'experts' doubted it was the best location when Apple first chose it. But a look at the pictures accompanying Apple's own store directory show only Manhattan's 5th Avenue store with more foot traffic outside.

The Market Street Improvement project and the Central Subway will be close to wrapping up in five years. The buyer is clearly thinking ahead.

Note that:
"Construction of the multibillion subway stint has shut down Stockton Street in front of Apple's existing store for most of the past year. "

So they're paying the highest price in SF history when the market has not yet fully recovered from the 2008 real estate crash - making their price even more amazing. And they can't expect a good return for 5 years? Typically, real estate investors expect to start making money after a year or two at the most.

Doesn't sound particularly smart.
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post #29 of 31

Good riddance to both the 1 Stockton Apple Store and the Levi’s building. The stairwell leading up from Powell Station directly under the store always smells horribly of urine and feces, the escalator isn’t even working right now (probably because it was used as a toilet, as is typical of MUNI and BART escalators within SF), there’s always a large homeless encampment within Powell Station itself and Apple really is outgrowing the old store, it’s hard to just walk in and actually move around sometimes, and the construction going on there makes it a pain just to cross the 15 feet to the store. Prime real estate, sure, but that’s in the past and the future, right now the location just sucks, but at least Apple got a brilliant deal on the building (would love to meet the Real Estate agent(s) that managed to pull that one off, and I’m looking forward to seeing who the lucky sucker was).

 
As for the Levi’s Building, one of my least favorite places to go inside, too much concrete and pipework showing (not a fan of the style) and it feels dark and oppressive inside.
 
Also: what happened to the forum system here? Sure I haven’t posted for years, but that’s no excuse for the submit button to stop working. -_-; If the above post appears twice, just note it was because I had trouble actually posting.
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post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

Also: what happened to the forum system here? Sure I haven’t posted for years, but that’s no excuse for the submit button to stop working. -_-; If the above post appears twice, just note it was because I had trouble actually posting.

AI pulled a Samsung, cheaping out and went over to Huddler Tech; dumbest move ever. Also strange and ironic, covering a company that goes through tremendous length in getting things right. AI, not so much.
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post #31 of 31

Too bad. If they wanted to be cheap, I quite like Vanilla. Back when DED maintained a forum on his site I used to moderate it, till I outgrew my teenaged Apple fanboy self anyway (well, until some point after that point). Didn’t have this BBS feel, it was text-centric, apparently had quite a few extensions which were never really explored and gave the community a tighter, focused feel. Jeff Atwood also launched his own attempt to reform internet discussions, I only caught a few glimpses of it on other sites I don’t really post on, but from what I see, it’s brilliant, forgot the name though, probably not cheap, but worth it if you’re going to bother having a discussion system at all.

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