Apple unveils biggest Southern Hemisphere store plan
MELBOURNE has scored a significant victory in its war with Sydney this morning, as technology giant Apple revealed plans to build a new Australian flagship store in the city's Federation Square.
Described as Apple's "most significant store in the Southern Hemisphere," and reported to cost $50 million, the company will construct a two-storey pavilion in Melbourne's famous meeting point, the first in the city's CBD.
Apple's new centre, which will also feature a public park, views of the city, and access to the Yarra River, will replace Sydney's glass-covered George Street store as the country's premier Apple shopping location.
Apple retail senior vice-president Angela Ahrendts said the company had created a "bespoke design concept" for its Melbourne destination to respect "the original vision for the plaza".
"We're thrilled to move forward in the planning process for our new home in Melbourne's Federation Square and would be honoured to call the world-class galleries and museums of Melbourne our neighbours," Ms Ahrendts said.
Apple's newest store will be smaller than the Yarra Building it replaces, and will feature wraparound glass, a balcony looking over Melbourne's skyline and Yarra River, and access to the river and parkland from the Square.
Construction on the building, designed by Foster + Partners, is due to begin in late 2018, with completion expected in 2020.
Apple's announcement follows the replacement of its first Melbourne store, in Chadstone Shopping Centre, just last month.
The company's new Chadstone location is the first in Australia to boast Apple's latest retail design, and features Queensland ficus trees, a skylight 7.6m above the store floor, glass walls, and lecture spaces for free education sessions.
Apple is expected to roll out the redesign to more of its 22 Australian stores in future.