updated 12:40 pm EDT, Fri October 22, 2010
Outlet includes unusual outdoor gathering area
The construction of the Lincoln Park Apple Store, opening tomorrow, has resulted in some major changes to its surrounding area, the Chicago Tribune writes. Apple paid about $3.9 million to help refurbish the nearby North/Clybourn transit station, which the Tribune claims was "so dingy" that Red Line riders would deliberately get off at a nearby stop to avoid it. The station is close to the poor Cabrini-Green housing project, which is undergoing a demolition and relocation program.
The inside of the station has only received cleaning and painting, but the outside is now said to have new bricks and windows, borrowing partly from 1940s aesthetics. An accompanying plaza has also been overhauled, and should effectively serve as an extension of the Apple Store thanks to tables, benches, chairs, a fountain and Wi-Fi access. To that end Apple has actually constructed a third store entrance, directly facing both the plaza and the transit station. The outlet also sports a main entrance, and an alternate one dedicated exclusively to workshop or One to One visitors.
The Tribune reports that the refurbishing money has come at the cost of Apple advertising, which now dominates North/Clybourn stop to the exclusion of all other marketers. Apple has in fact stated interest in rebranding the facility as the "Apple Red Line" station, and the Chicago Transit Authority has granted the company right of first refusal if and when it agrees to sell out naming rights for infrastructure.
Ron Johnson, Apple's senior VP for retail, meanwhile notes that in a first, all product purchases at the store will qualify for personal setup at a hub located in the center of the building. Tasks as mundane as configuring an iTunes or e-mail account can be handled by a specialist. If a person wants to, they can still unbox a product on their own.
[Photos courtesy of Chicago Now]