Development of Apple's first Australian flagship store hamstrung by heritage protection or...

in General Discussion edited August 2018
An Australian government body tasked with administering cultural heritage regulations in the state of Victoria this week enacted an Interim Protection Order that precludes further development of Federal Square, the site of a proposed flagship Apple store, for a period of at least four months.

Handed down by the Heritage Victoria Executive Director Steven Avery on Tuesday, the order (PDF link) protects Federal Square under the Victoria State Government's Heritage Act of 2017 as the agency considers adding the area to the official Victorian Heritage Register.

As noted by "Our City, Our Square," a Federal Square-focused offshoot of advocacy group Citizens for Melbourne, the IPO prevents any construction, demolition, excavation or other alteration to the site, punishable by fines or imprisonment.

According to Avery, approved works in and around the area pose an "imminent threat" to the square and "may detrimentally affect its cultural heritage significance." Included among the named projects are a Metro Tunnel entrance and the Yarra building, the latter being the planned location of Apple's first Australian global flagship store.

"Fed Square has been given a reprieve until Christmas," said Tania Davidge, President of Citizens for Melbourne in statements posted to the Our City, Our Square website. "The Interim Protection Order allows us to take stock and think about what makes Fed Square truly special. It validates the community view that Fed Square is a place of social, cultural and civic importance."

Announced last December, Apple Federal Square was initially set to open in 2020, but the proposed retail presence amidst museums and eateries was met with significant pushback from public advocacy groups. Listed among the complaints was the store's original design, which some referred to as a "Pizza Hut pagoda."

Apple addressed local concerns in July when it unveiled revised plans for a store designed to complement surrounding structures. The company arrived at the refreshed architectural outline with the help of Federation Square Management, the Victorian Government and the Melbourne City Council.

Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council will decide Federal Square's fate during the four-month evaluation period. It is unclear whether Apple will be able to move ahead with construction of the outlet if VHR status is approved, though Our City, Our Square believes heritage classification would impact those plans.


  • Reply 1 of 16
    payecopayeco Posts: 455member
    Is this going to be the Irish data center debacle all over again? Say fuck it and build the flagship in Sydney.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    I’d say it’d be best for public relations for Apple to build it elsewhere in Melbourne or, as the previous poster suggested, in Sydney. I’m sure that another good site could be found in the city of Melbourne that complements the surroundings (Apple is good at that) and is a good site for retail as well. Then the people may be more supportive. 
    edited August 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    lolliverlolliver Posts: 431member
    So there's a 7-Eleven there but it's not OK to have an Apple Store? 

    Hopefully they will come to an agreement about the look of the building and how it can be incorporated into the existing architecture - provided it doesn't end up looking as bad as the rest of the square. 

    Apple's proposal wasn't going to detract from the public space but maybe they can come to an agreement to ensure both sides are happy like they did with the folk art fountain at  the Union Square store.

    Fed Square would really be the ideal location in Melbourne. They could probably find a location at Docklands but Fed Square is more central and higher traffic. 
  • Reply 4 of 16
    payeco said:
    Is this going to be the Irish data center debacle all over again? Say fuck it and build the flagship in Sydney.
    Contrary to the mistaken headline, Sydney has long had a flagship store.  This is not the first.  Also, it's "Federation Square" not "Federal Square".
  • Reply 5 of 16
    anomeanome Posts: 1,463member
    s.metcalf said:
    payeco said:
    Is this going to be the Irish data center debacle all over again? Say fuck it and build the flagship in Sydney.
    Contrary to the mistaken headline, Sydney has long had a flagship store.  This is not the first.  Also, it's "Federation Square" not "Federal Square".

    I wondered about that. I thought they might mean that this is a ground up Apple building, while I think George Street was a fitout of the existing building. As far as I know, they haven't built the whole thing in Australia, yet. But if it's just a major store, then there's already one in Melbourne, just not in Federation Square.

    What makes an Apple Store a flagship?

  • Reply 6 of 16
    I live in Melbourne and I have know idea what they are talking about! Heritage Victoria? Federation Square was only built 20 years ago! It was overpriced and I think a massive waste of money. Apples store can only improve this area. It’ll give me a reason to go there! I wouldn’t be surprised if Our City, Our Square was being funded by $am$ung. 
  • Reply 7 of 16
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,197member
    Next time Melbourne wonders why Sydney is the preeminent city of Australia - let's review back to this moment. (All while keeping, enhancing and improving access to its heritage areas too.)

    I'm all for heritage conservation - but when there is literally nothing to preserve it's just a tactic by a few obstructionists. 
  • Reply 8 of 16
    We'd love an Apple Store in the CBD, but it doesn't need to be built in Fed Square. Fed Square, like it or loathe it, is iconic. It's a tourist attraction. The polygon heavy architecture has already dated, but that is what makes it culturally important as a time capsule. It's also important as a public space that is primarily dedicated to the art galleries, museums, and cultural festivals. Apple can build it's monument to itself and consumerism in one of the shopping malls, or behind the facade of a heritage building that is facing destruction.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    itchiiitchii Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Most Melbournians would love an Apple store in the CBD, they just don't want it at Federation Square and resent a large corporate retailer having a large and very visible presence. While the Square is divisive, its a national icon, now much loved by many. The proposed development and plans just are too large and just don't compliment the existing architecture of Federation Square. The reason the store was proposed for the space is that its a major meeting place in the city, gets huge foot traffic, sits next to and above the main railway station. Unfortunately for Apple in Australia, it now has a bit of a reputation for tax dodging and is partially victim of the current community anger for large corporates who pay little or no tax. In this climate, proposing a huge, uncomplimentary store in a major public space has naturally seen a backlash. Apple should just up stumps and find a better location in the city and make something special of that space, instead of trying to adapt an existing location in a bid to insert itself into the community.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,145member
    I would be embarrassed to have that monstrosity called federation square in my city. It just the sort of crap that says “Look at me! I’m edgy!” Except of course, they are not, as demonstrated by their need to show it. inferiority complex writ large. It’s an icon all right, just not in a good way and certainly not a national one. You can keep it all to yourselves. For everyone  else in the country it’s only purpose is to laugh at Melbourne people.  It’s like Melbourne based comedians: funny in Melbourne.

    If I was Apple I would stick to Westfields in Melbourne, and put the flagship anywhere else other than Adelaide.
    edited August 2018 stompywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    It was totally tone deaf of Apple to propose the Federation Square site. Much as I normally hate NIMBY behaviours from lobby groups resisting change, it is really likely the right call for planning permission to be refused here. More humility required.
  • Reply 12 of 16
    hmmm ... the interim order does not mention the apple store or the Yarra Building at all. Specifically it mentions Metro Tunnel works as "the threat" (see below). 

    Either the citizens group is (cleverly) using Tunnel as a way to get it added to the VHR which inadvertently make apple store construction more difficult or they are just being opportunistic from this order. The article does not say who nominated Fed Sq to Heritage Victoria.


    In making this order the Executive Director has considered the Guidelines for Interim Protection Orders (IPOs) under the Heritage Act 2017.  ...

    1. There may be a prima facie case for the inclusion of this place in the VHR.

    2. This place is under imminent threat from approved works to facilitate the Metro Tunnel at the CBD South Precinct that may detrimentally affect its cultural heritage significance. 

  • Reply 13 of 16
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 687member
    ‘Oww yeah, we dunno woi we hoit it but we ahnt gonna lettem bild it, roit?’
    In other news, TUSA’s ruling party not only affirmed Apple’s request to nuke Melbourne, but fully endorsed it udner the new Protect TUSA with Tarrifs Act 2018. More news at 11!
  • Reply 14 of 16
    payecopayeco Posts: 455member
  • Reply 15 of 16
    anomeanome Posts: 1,463member
    itchii said:
    While the Square is divisive, its a national icon, now much loved by many.

    It really isn't. Not the way that The Sydney Harbour Bridge, or The Sydney Opera House, or even The Big Pineapple are. I really have no idea what Federation Square looks like, despite having been to Melbourne a few times in the past 20 years. (I may even have been to Federation Square, but I don't remember it.)

    The MCG? That's a national icon. I know what that looks like, and I've never been there. And I don't follow AFL, or even the Cricket much these days.

  • Reply 16 of 16
    Federation Square's importance, whether anyone likes the style of the architecture or not, is that it's a single, intact project, created for public benefit, in a single architectural style from a specific period in history. I'm not personally a fan of the style of Fed Square, and while I like most of Apple's architecture, to be fair, Apple's work is now an architectural "international generic" style, which is considered disposable by themselves as soon as technology (eg glass sheet sizes) changes. When it comes to their proposals for Fed Square, their first "Retro Pizza Hut" version was a more interesting building than the current design, but neither of them are worth breaking the existing Fed Square scheme.

    The fact that a company as psychotically devoted to aesthetic purity as Apple, could even contemplate imposing its own taste and style on an existing, complete architectural scheme is, frankly, disappointing. It displays a fundamental disrespect for the location, and the existing architecture. There's no reason for Apple to have any visible branding presence if they want to be in that location, other than a simple sign with their logo. They managed to handle that quite well in historic buildings in Brisbane, London & Paris.

    It's hard enough to protect significant "modern" architecture from the greed of developers, without companies like Apple trying to build temples to their own aggrandisement at the expense of culture in general.

    Most importantly, the rejection of Apple's plan is a clear message that society is sick of back room deals between companies and governments, presented as fait accompli, to make sweeping changes to public spaces, and public infrastructure, without the public's consultation, or consent.
    edited August 2018 Carnage
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