New flagship Union Square Apple Store beginning to rise in San Francisco

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited June 2015
Walls are beginning to rise at the site of Apple's new flagship store at Union Square in San Francisco, three blocks away from the company's existing flagship store at Stockton and Market Street (which the new location will replace next summer).


New Apple Store progress at Union Square, San Francisco


Work on the new Apple Store is now underway, with beams that will support the sides and back wall of the structure now rising from the construction site, as can be observed in the progress video below.



Last month, the remains of a triangular building that formerly occupied the prominent Union Square corner (most recently serving as a retail outlet for Levi's) was dismantled and trucked away for materials recycling. In its place, Apple plans to build a new glass and steel retail palace similar in design to the West Lake store featured in a grand opening video during the company's "Spring Forward" event in March.

Apple Store Union Square construction


The new San Francisco store is unique in that it will incorporate giant sliding doors on the front of the building, enabling the location to take full advantage of the city's pleasant climate during business hours.

Apple Store Union Square


Four months ago, the work to remove the former building (below) was just getting started. Despite the demolition progress, a source familiar with Apple's construction timeline said the new Union Store location isn't expected to open until the summer of 2016.

Apple Store Union Square construction

Winter Walk makes way for continued Central Subway construction

Apple's existing flagship store in San Francisco opened just over eleven years ago in February 2004, as noted by retail watchdog site ifoAppleStore. It was one of the company's first "high profile" retail locations, featuring a prominent glass stairway positioned under a large skylight. As with its new location, Apple built its existing store from the ground up after demolishing the previous building on the site.

At the time the was built, the Union Square shopping district was struggling to recover from the Dot-Com Boom, and Apple's entry into the neighborhood was greeted as a force for helping to accelerate a recovery.

Since then, Apple's San Francisco retail store helped launched iPhone in 2007 and iPad in 2010. The store has outlasted may of its neighbors, including the "old media" Virgin Megastore across the street (now a Forever 21) and a CompUSA store nearby (which closed when the entire electronics chain went through bankruptcy).

Apple's current store, located three blocks away from the new construction site, is at the intersection of Stockton, Ellis and Market Streets. The location has been plagued with nonstop construction of the Central Subway, which has dug underneath Stockton using tunnel boring machines over the past year.

Apple Store Union Square construction


Apple Store Union Square construction


While intended to be minimally invasive compared to digging a "cut and cover" subway passage, the tunnel boring work has closed Stockton Street for more than two years. The street (which passes in front of the current Apple Store) isn't expected to reopen until 2017 at the earliest.

The construction work over the last two and a half years hasn't stopped customers from lining up around the block for the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 product launches, and Apple's store remains very busy most of the time, particularly during the holidays.

To mitigate the subway's construction on Union Square' holiday traffic, surface level street work related to the Central Subway project was put on hold at the end of last year, and the closed street was temporarily reopened as "Winter Walk SF," a pedestrian mall covered in astroturf (below).

After the holidays ended, the intersection in front of the Apple Store at Stockton and Market has returned to being an open pit, offering a glimpse into the former pedestrian pathways that once connected BART and Muni's Powell Station to a metro entrance incorporated into the corner of the store.

Apple Store Union Square construction


Once the Central Subway is finished (perhaps as early as the end of 2019), new underground pedestrian walkways will connect the existing Powell Station to the new north-south subway line stopping at a new Union Square station a couple blocks away, on the opposite corner of the park from Apple's new store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9

    This does not seem like a company that's going to have limited growth.  While other companies are laying off and closing down stores, Apple is hiring more employees and building new stores.  That says a lot about the state of Apple's condition.  It sure doesn't seem like a company in trouble as so many pundits like to say.  454 retail stores is no small number and yet Wall Street gives Apple zero premium for having a commodity like no other consumer tech company.  Wall Street is just ignorant or blind to not realize the power of those retail stores.  Those retail stores are like anchors for Apple and they're going to make it especially hard for any other rival to steal customers away as long as Apple continues to make high-quality products and good customer support.  That Apple logo is a shining beacon to beckon consumers from near and far.

  • Reply 2 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,157member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Steffen Jobbs View Post

     

    This does not seem like a company that's going to have limited growth.


     

    Exactly. Jim Cramer, that hyperactive financial pundit put it best. He wondered why people think that Apple could just up and die one day. Why do people think that sales of Apple products could suddenly come to a screeching halt overnight and the company cease to exist the next day. In my opinion part of it extends from the notion that Apple’s success is an illusion. How could this company have triumphed over mighty Microsoft, Google, IBM, and the like? Then remember that the predictions of doom go back to the very first days of its existence. I also think part of this idea of imminent doom stems from the traditional mindset that he who achieves the most market share wins. So the fact that Apple is winning with a minority market share vis-a-vie Windows, Android seems abnormal and temporary, an illusion of success.

  • Reply 3 of 9
    lkrupp wrote: »
    Exactly. Jim Cramer, that hyperactive financial pundit put it best. He wondered why people think that Apple could just up and die one day. Why do people think that sales of Apple products could suddenly come to a screeching halt overnight and the company cease to exist the next day. In my opinion part of it extends from the notion that Apple’s success is an illusion. How could this company have triumphed over mighty Microsoft, Google, IBM, and the like? Then remember that the predictions of doom go back to the very first days of its existence. I also think part of this idea of imminent doom stems from the traditional mindset that he who achieves the most market share wins. So the fact that Apple is winning with a minority market share vis-a-vie Windows, Android seems abnormal and temporary, an illusion of success.

    Apple refuses follow the expected formulas for success, but keep succeeding. And that makes the know-it-all's & smarter-than-you's extremely uncomfortable. Others just plain hate Apple's success and want it to fail, simply because they believe that Apple shouldn't succeed, or has no right competing with and sometimes beating their favorite competitor. Often times, that competitor is a sanctimonious search engine/advertiser who pleases geeks with publicly loud moonshot projects and Borg eyewear.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    fred1fred1 Posts: 329member
    It's great to see the Powers that Rule San Francisco finally allow a progressive design for a retail building in this area.
    The fiasco several years ago with the rejection of the Prada store was a real loss for this city which seems so focused on innovation, but is still in many ways stuck in a conservative rut.
    Can't wait to see the new store (and the return of Stockton Street)!
  • Reply 5 of 9
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    Apple has a better chance to outlast every other tech company, (or company, period) even if it changed its business model to "dump out money into the ocean" tomorrow.
  • Reply 6 of 9

    It looks like that beefy, study wall running parallel with Post St will be the fulcrum for the giant cantilevered second story. I love how Apple continues to push the limits of its architectural designs. Those doors will also be pretty amazing. Can't wait to see it in person!

  • Reply 7 of 9
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,692member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    Then remember that the predictions of doom go back to the very first days of its existence. I also think part of this idea of imminent doom stems from the traditional mindset that he who achieves the most market share wins. So the fact that Apple is winning with a minority market share vis-a-vie Windows, Android seems abnormal and temporary, an illusion of success.


    This is it in a nutshell.  Market share only really matters companies engaged in selling commodity products.  The margins re small so thy need to sell more and do it through attaining market share.  Reading comments in various investing and financial sites you would think that market share matters ore than anything - like you said a "traditional mindset" and a wrong headed one.  It matters very little to Apple and I doubt that market share is a frequent topic of discussion amongst Apple top brass.  Profit through quality, not profit through commoditizing.

  • Reply 8 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,191member
    fred1 wrote: »
    It's great to see the Powers that Rule San Francisco finally allow a progressive design for a retail building in this area.
    The fiasco several years ago with the rejection of the Prada store was a real loss for this city which seems so focused on innovation, but is still in many ways stuck in a conservative rut.
    Can't wait to see the new store (and the return of Stockton Street)!

    There are conservatives in San Francisco?
  • Reply 9 of 9
    fred1fred1 Posts: 329member
    Yes. Hard to believe, but true! There's a segment of the population that is very conservative.
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