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Docs reveal plans for fourth Apple mega-store in Manhattan (images)

post #1 of 13
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Renderings of a possible fourth Manhattan-based Apple flagship store have surfaced on the Web site of a New York City architectural firm, revealing a distinctive 30-story building with a huge, three-story glass and steel facade marked with a large white Apple logo.

The illustrations coincide with mortgage documents prepared late last year for a $125 million hotel/residential tower at 21-27 W. 34th Street, where Apple previously had plans for a retail store across from the Empire State Building.

The firm Ismael Leyva Architects has posted the two illustrations in the "Projects" section of its Web site, under the simple listing "Project 2." The rendering is labeled as a "Project In Progress," and does not show the address of the building. However, a close examination of the rendering shows retailer Banana Republic in the lower-right corner, next to the proposed project. In fact, Banana Republic is at 17 W. 34th St., just east of the proposed building that includes Apple. The rendering also shows the name of the building housing Banana Republic--The Martin Building.

According to financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a pair of developers obtained a $100 million, 10-year, interest-only loan to develop the two buildings at 21-23 and 25 W. 34th Street. The loan is part of a package of mortgage offerings by Wachovia Commericial Mortgages Inc. issued in October 2006. The filing states that Apple would be paying an average of $6 million a year in rent over the life of the 15-year lease. Under the terms of the loan, Apple was required to build a two or three-story retail store covering 27,900 square-feet.

However, the documents are confusing on the timeline of the project. According to Wachovia, the developers were to have the existing buildings demolished by Feb. 1, 2007 or "promptly after." At which point Apple would begin paying rent to the developers. However, New York City permit records show that only a scaffolding permit has been issued for the two properties. The scaffolding permit was issued Sept. 17, 2007.

According to the filing, "...The collateral improvements are planned for completion by January 1, 2008." This seems to indicate that the project is substantially behind its original schedule.

Ismael Leyva's proposed design for an Apple retail store at W. 34th Street.

There is also a difference between the loan documents and the renderings -- the loan indicates that Apple would build a stand-alone store on the site and be the lone tenant. However, the renderings show a much larger building with Apple occupying the lower three floors.

Tipsters and local media noted Apple's original interest in the 34th St. property back in Dec. 2005. But there was never any activity at the site. Real estate sources said Apple abandoned the project in Jan. 2007 because the location didn't have the required "coolness" factor.

An alternative view of Ismael Leyva's proposed design for an Apple retail store at W. 34th Street.

The iconic Empire State Building is directly across the street from the site, and is one of world's most famous architectural wonders. The building opened in 1931 and was an instant hit with visitors who wanted to see the world's tallest building (1,454 feet). The building still attracts about 350,000 monthly visitors to the 86th floor observatory, a figure the building owner says is increasing each year. The building owner has extensively remodeled the skyscraper, and has added new tenants to the ground-floor retail spaces.

The current structure at W. 34th Street as seen on Google Maps.

An Apple flagship shop on W. 34th Street would be the Cupertino-based company's fourth in the New York City borough of Manhattan, joining locations currently operating in SoHo and Midtown, and another under development in the city's Meatpacking District.

Gary Allen is the creator and author of ifo Apple Store, which provides close watch of Apple's retail initiative. When Gary isn't busy publishing news and information on Apple's latest retail stores, he finds himself hanging out at one.
post #2 of 13
This could be the old plan that Apple has shelved. Architect firms have been known to post renderings of projects to show off their client base. But not all of those projects will necessarily ever be completed.
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

This could be the old plan that Apple has shelved. Architect firms have been known to post renderings of projects to show off their client base. But not all of those projects will necessarily ever be completed.

They appear to be fairly recent renderings, one of the front views has an iPhone in the store window
post #4 of 13
Man that is a really cool design.
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post #5 of 13
A) what would they do with all that space?!
2) Would it be financially successful?
III) WHY IS APPLE CONCENTRATING SO HARD ON FREAKING NY?!

Honestly, you guys already have 3 flagships and a slew of 'normals.' Meanwhile, the Twin Cites (Minneapolis - St. Paul) metro area has 4 dinky (I stress dinky) in-mall stores to share amongst the 3 million of us.

What gives Apple? We have a high Mac-users-rate too! One flagship is all I ask... or at least a couple more 'normals.'

-Clive
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post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

A) what would they do with all that space?!
2) Would it be financially successful?
III) WHY IS APPLE CONCENTRATING SO HARD ON FREAKING NY?!

Honestly, you guys already have 3 flagships and a slew of 'normals.' Meanwhile, the Twin Cites (Minneapolis - St. Paul) metro area has 4 dinky (I stress dinky) in-mall stores to share amongst the 3 million of us.

What gives Apple? We have a high Mac-users-rate too! One flagship is all I ask... or at least a couple more 'normals.'

All reports that I read here is that the Apple stores in NYC are almost always packed. I wonder if the NYC Mac user rate is higher. NYC also has a population about two and a half times what you say the Twin Cities area has.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

All reports that I read here is that the Apple stores in NYC are almost always packed. I wonder if the NYC Mac user rate is higher. NYC also has a population about two and a half times what you say the Twin Cities area has.

NYC has 6 stores, 3 of which are flagships. Doing a little math (trying to err on the side of caution):

Let's assume the flagships have four times the capacity that normals do (even though I think it's more than that, especially considering the small size of the MN stores). That would mean NYC has the capacity of 15 normals (3flag * 4 normal + 3 normal). Divide that by the 2.5 population scale factor and you get 6 normals for 3 million people. That means for the amount of stores they have versus in MN, NYC must have a 50% higher user-rate than we do.

Maybe this is reasonable, but it feels like we're a little dry of Apple stores.

(Our stores are typically pretty crowded as well. I wouldn't use the term "packed" but I would certainly use "snug"... especially the Mall of America store. All the demo units are always in use, at least whenever I go.)

-Clive
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post #8 of 13
Quote:
They appear to be fairly recent renderings, one of the front views has an iPhone in the store window

There seem to be conflicting reports about the contract and the reality of the site. But if its true it looks good to me.

There are good reports that Apple is looking at Williamsburg for a Brooklyn Store. Which would be an odd place as its not near any major transportation and is out of the way for most people in Brooklyn.

Quote:
WHY IS APPLE CONCENTRATING SO HARD ON FREAKING NY?!

NYC has nearly 8.5 million residents, 3 million commuters a day from the surrounding tri-state area, and 40 million tourists a year.

The 5th Ave and SoHo stores have had the top revenue of all Apple Stores with $45 million and $23 million in revenue respectively.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

NYC has nearly 8.5 million residents, 3 million commuters a day from the surrounding tri-state area, and 40 million tourists a year.

And many of those commuters and tourists pour out of Penn Station and NJ Transit, both on 34th St just 1-3 blocks to the west of this proposed store.
post #10 of 13
Yeah there are a LOT of Mac users in NYC, almost always has been, and probably will only grow much more. The design looks okay to me (and considering how Oro is turning out in Brooklyn, the reality will look quite good), but I don't really care too much for the location.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

NYC has nearly 8.5 million residents, 3 million commuters a day from the surrounding tri-state area, and 40 million tourists a year.

The 5th Ave and SoHo stores have had the top revenue of all Apple Stores with $45 million and $23 million in revenue respectively.

Yeah, I think it is the tourists. With the dollar so cheap vs. the euro, many visitors may make
big purchases in NY. It also helps explain why the SF Bay Area has so many stores in relation
to its permanent population. Lots of people visit from Japan and China, as well as Europe here.
post #12 of 13
The two Ismael Leyva's proposed design for an Apple retail store at W. 34th Street are different. It's not just population. The demographics (age, income, tourists, etc) might not surport a flagship store in the Twin Cities area. Little stores might serve the area just fine.
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post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

NYC has 6 stores, 3 of which are flagships. Doing a little math (trying to err on the side of caution):

Let's assume the flagships have four times the capacity that normals do (even though I think it's more than that, especially considering the small size of the MN stores). That would mean NYC has the capacity of 15 normals (3flag * 4 normal + 3 normal). Divide that by the 2.5 population scale factor and you get 6 normals for 3 million people. That means for the amount of stores they have versus in MN, NYC must have a 50% higher user-rate than we do.

Maybe this is reasonable, but it feels like we're a little dry of Apple stores.

(Our stores are typically pretty crowded as well. I wouldn't use the term "packed" but I would certainly use "snug"... especially the Mall of America store. All the demo units are always in use, at least whenever I go.)

-Clive

I wonder if the international tourist business that NYC is popular for has anything to do with it? I know in Miami Beach for example, that the store on Lincoln road is loaded with tourists from all over the world every time I am in there. NYC stores would enjoy a similar benefit in some of their stores for sure. The only foreigners that visit Minnesota are from Iowa.. .. I grew up there I know!
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