Apple proposes retail outlet, events space in historic Washington, D.C. landmark

in General Discussion edited September 2016
Apple is reportedly in talks to open a retail store and events center at Carnegie Library in Mount Vernon Square, a 113-year-old historic building located in downtown Washington, D.C.

Source: Events DC

Though local developers are attempting to woo Apple into downtown D.C. malls, a strategy that has yet to bear fruit, the company is said to be more interested in a grand project at Carnegie Library that will feature akin to Union Square flagship in San Francisco, The Washington Post reports, citing unnamed officials.

Like Union Square, Apple imagines a large space serving not only retail customers, but also the general public. With services like free public Wi-Fi and an area for concerts and other events located behind the store, Union Square is more of a gathering place than a vanilla retail outlet.

Unlike other big Apple builds, the 63,000-square-foot Carnegie Library is publicly owned and funded by hotel occupancy taxes. Further, the building itself holds intrinsic historic value. Constructed thanks to funds donated by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, the library opened in 1903 as one of the first desegregated public buildings in the city, the report said.

Due to the building's protected status, its caretaker, the Events DC conventions agency, has had a difficult time finding a suitable lessee. The group reportedly entered negotiations with Apple earlier this year as part of a renewed search for prospective tenants.

"We have received inquires as we look at possibly redeveloping Carnegie Library. And there are multiple inquires about creating a new type of experience there. So we are entertaining multiple folks, one of which might be a technology company," said Gregory A. O'Dell, president and CEO of Events DC.

O'Dell said successful bids are "going to have to be very sensitive and address" the building's historicity. This shouldn't be a problem for Apple, which has vast experience in dealing with historical sites.

In 2011, the company showed interest in a building in Brisbane, Australia, that served as U.S. general Douglas MacArthur's South West Pacific Area headquarters during World War II. After years of painstaking renovations, Apple opened a retail flagship at the site in 2014.

Closer to home, Apple this year won an award for its work in preserving and restoring historical structures in New York City. In February, the New York City Landmarks Conservancy cited Apple's SoHo, West 14th Street, Upper East Side and Grand Central Terminal stores for "marrying modern technology with distinguished architecture."


  • Reply 1 of 5
    I'd love this. I go to DC weekly to meet with customers, and it'd be nice to pop in to this location. The site is a nice part of town, near Chinatown and the Verizon Center arena.  It's not on The Mall -- the main tourist pedestrian area with famous buildings -- but it's a nice area nonetheless.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    Speaking of the DC area: the first ever Apple Store is in nearby Tysons, VA. Apple has never overhauled it, whereas they have for several other stores. Come on, Apple, refresh your original flagship store. :-)
  • Reply 3 of 5
    arlorarlor Posts: 531member
    Having a nice events space in DC is probably really mostly about lobbying. Good move. 
  • Reply 4 of 5
    irelandireland Posts: 17,796member
    Just one store. Is it too much to ask?
  • Reply 5 of 5
    I work near there.  It's a bit of a weird piece of land (lovely building) by the convention center and a big hotel.   It's a few blocks away from most foot traffic except for convention visitors. Many during a convention, not much otherwise. Not far from China Town but you won't see the store unless you already intend to go there. I'm sure downtown workers will appreciate it as Pentagon City is the current best bet. Georgetown isn't accessible by metro. This location isn't a no-brainer to me, but Apple does really know this stuff. 
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