Monday, March 09, 2009

The Apple Store will finally open in DC

We have lots of stories of how we all get to the Apple Store from downtown DC and it's not very pretty - from renting Zip Cars to taking buses and the Metro to Pentagon City, Clarendon, and Bethesda and then lugging everything home in a taxi, it has not been easy for Apple in DC.

That is now about to change, finally. And what a story it is. "It took five tries — and four redesigns – but Apple last week finally won approval to build a retail outlet in Washington D.C., its first in the nation’s capital," says Forbes from here.

The original building: Here’s what currently stands at 1229 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Apple purchased the building in 2007 for $13.3 million.

First Try: Apple’s first proposal was submitted in Sept. 2007 but rejected by the U.S. Fine Arts Commission’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC).

Second Try: "We’re not sure what the ANC expected of Apple, but we’re pretty sure it wasn’t the design ... a shiny, two-story glass-and-steel retail emporium that doesn’t look like anything else in the neighborhood," writes Forbes. It was rejected. Frankly, we think Apple submitted it to scare them after their perfectly acceptable first submission was rejected.

Third Try: Steve Jobs himself had seen the design and liked it (of course he would, though I think he's still trying to scare them). The Georgetown Metropolitan did not. “In GM’s view,” it editorialized, “this is not an appropriate design for Georgetown.” Back to the drawing board.

Fourth Try: What Apple came back with in February looks a lot like the original design rejected back in 2007. This time it was approved by the ANC but blocked by the OGB. Oops.

The Fifth Try: Finally, lift off! "The final rendering," writes Forbes, "was designed to echo the architectural features of the city’s historic Georgetown neighborhood. It was enthusiastically embraced by the same architectural preservation board that had soundly rejected Apple’s previous designs." What we notice is that it's not all that difference from their First Try. Certainly it's a far cry from their store in Manhattan!

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