Apple scraps plans for controversial flagship store in Melbourne


Oz new store
The Apple Store that will never happen.
Photo: Apple

Apple has scrapped a controversial plan to build a flagship Apple Store in Melbourne, Australia’s Federation Square.

Apple had been battling to build the store for much of last year. It even scrapped its original designs and came up with new ones, only to have those criticized as well. Government agent Heritage Victoria ruled that the Apple Store would be too “visually dominant.” It also said that demolishing the existing Yarra Building to construct Apple’s flagship store would “diminish” the public space.

The decision to deny Apple permission to build the Apple Store came on the back of vehement opposition to Apple’s plans. An Apple spokesperson has confirmed that Apple will no longer pursue the plans. It’s not clear if it will try and find another space nearby.

Challenges down under

The cancellation of the project is no great surprise to anyone who had been following along. Those in favor of the new Apple Store had argued that it would create more than 500 square meters of new public space, and bring in new visitors. However, those against it pointed out that Federation Square is a space intended for public events. These include cultural performances and public protests.

Apple had seemingly been thwarted at every turn. Its original design for the store included a visually striking elaborate pagoda-style roof. It was then asked to change these and, when it did, those new designs were criticized too. They were accused of causing a, “loss of definition to the square.”

Construction had already been pushed back to 2020 — with the eventual opening set for 2021.

Not the first time this has happened

This isn’t the first time Apple has had to abandon its construction works due to legal challenges. In February, Apple ditched plans to develop an Apple Store in Stockholm, Sweden. This came after the Stockholm City Council vetoed plans for a proposed flagship retail store in the area.

According to a member Stockholm Urban Development Committee, Apple representatives were extremely upset after their proposal was rejected. The company had already made revisions to its proposal in order to fit the proposed historic location better. Apple also turned down officials who said they would help find a new location for the Apple Store.

Last year, endless delays additionally caused Apple to ditch its plans for a giant data center in County Galway in Ireland.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald