Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Grand Central Station’s Grand New Apple Store Looks Like … An Apple Store

This morning, I got a sneak peek at the new Apple Store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, set against the backdrop of the transit hub’s famed night-sky ceiling and central four-sided information clock. At 23,000 square feet, it’s one of the world’s largest Apple outlets, grand in both architecture and scope.

Aside from that, customers who visit the shop will likely feel as though they’ve just walked into … an Apple Store.

The store features multiple areas, with sleek-looking tables set up for product viewing, testing and express purchasing. And, of course, there’s a Genius Bar, set up in the southwest corner of the space.

The Grand Central Terminal store is Apple’s fifth in New York City, adding to the company’s footprint of more than 300 stores worldwide. Bob Bridger, Apple’s vice president of retail and real estate development, said Apple has seen more than 12 million visitors in its New York stores this year, and more than 300 million visitors worldwide.

The Cupertino-based maker of the iPhone and iPad is in the midst of a notable retail expansion, though the company recently scaled back its schedule of large store openings in China, where demand for the popular iPhone 4 was said to outpace supply.

Grand Central is currently home to other retailers, including Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, MAC Cosmetics, Papyrus and Rite Aid; plus a slew of coffee shops and newsstands, restaurants like Michael Jordan’s Steak House and the famed Campbell Apartment bar.

Apple’s lease arrangement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the space, has come into some question following a New York Post story about the terms of the lease, as the company has ramped up for the opening of this store.

The NYP and Associated Press report that Apple signed a 10-year lease with the MTA for the space once occupied by Metrazur restaurant, which got $5 million from Apple to clear out early; and that unlike other tenants in the building, Apple will not be sharing revenue with the transit authority. At $180 per square foot, Apple is also paying slightly less than other tenants in the space, but the MTA has said that cost reflects the $5 million payment to the restaurant, plus Apple’s $2.5 million capital investment in the space and a $1.1 million annual rate.

While the daily foot traffic through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal is somewhere around 750,000 people, according to the MTA, the Apple Store may do more for the other retailers in the commuter and subway train station than the station does for Apple.

One element of this Apple Store that’s different from others: The Grand Central Terminal Apple Store will offer 15-minute express classes on Apple products for commuters looking to kill some time.

It offers a personal pickup service that allows commuters using the Apple Store app to make a purchase using their iPhone and pick it up immediately upon arrival. The store also lets customers make purchases entirely on their own using a barcode scanner.

The store opens Friday, Dec. 9, at 10 am ET.

P.S.: A little history lesson for the kids: It is actually called Grand Central “Terminal” and not Grand Central “Station,” as it is commonly referred to. I’m talking to you, Beyonce!


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