Apple previewed its newest retail location at the historic Tower Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday. The company announced the store’s Thursday opening in conjunction with the launch of the Today at Apple Creative Studios global mentorship initiative for young creatives.
And wow, the new store looks like a real beauty. Apple called it “one of its most significant restoration projects to date.” That’s saying something. Just look at Rome. Or Bangkok. Or even the long-established Grand Central Station store in New York.
Apple Tower Theatre is Apple’s 26th location in greater Los Angeles. It employs nearly 100 retail team members. More than 3,000 of them work in the region.
“At every corner, Los Angeles bursts with creativity across the arts, music and entertainment, and we are thrilled to build on our relationship with this special city,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People, in a press release Tuesday. “Apple Tower Theatre honors the rich history and legacy of this entertainment capital.”
Drenched in history
Renowned early movie theater architect S. Charles Lee designed the Tower Theatre in 1927. It was LA’s first to be wired for film with sound.
And that legacy of technological innovation informs today’s renovated space. In it, you’ll find Apple’s influential line of iPhones, iPads and Macs, well known for the roles they continue to play in the entertainment industry.
After a storied run, the building closed in 1988, remaining empty until now. Apple said it collaborated with preservationists, restoration artists and the City of Los Angeles to preserve and restore the theater’s beauty and grandeur.
And not only is it gorgeous again — the building has undergone a full seismic upgrade, too.
Apple Tower Theatre anchors the corner of Eighth Street and Broadway. Many visitors will recognize the classic structure’s restored clock tower. Others may note the re-created Broadway marquee. Then there’s the terra cotta exterior and renovated historic “blade” sign.
Once inside, visitors will find things getting monumental fast. After walking through the Broadway doors, guests enter a massive lobby inspired by Charles Garnier’s Paris Opera house. It features a grand arched stairway with bronze handrails flanked by marble Corinthian columns.
In the heart of the store sit the Forum and signature video wall, underneath a restored arch and surrounded by the theater’s original balconies. The Forum houses Today at Apple, where Apple team members and folks from the local creative community will lead free daily educational sessions, the company said.
The expansive auditorium, surrounded by arched bays and restored bronze, displays what Apple calls customers’ favorite products. Those include the all-new iMac, iPad Pro and Apple TV 4K.
Customer service as an excuse to hang out
And don’t think all that old-school grandeur is just empty space. Visitors looking for support from Apple team members will find ample room to work with. The theater’s original seating on the upper level has been modernized and made into an open, flexible area for Genius Bar appointments.
In addition, two new elevators have been installed in the theater, allowing access to the store’s different levels.