updated 11:05 am EDT, Thu May 26, 2011
Apple to take over historic Spanish building
Plans for four more Apple Stores are progressing in the US and in Europe. In Sarasota, Florida, management at the Westfield Southgate mall has acknowledged being in talks for an Apple location. When the store would open is uncertain, but it may reportedly arrive by the end of 2011, and fill a gap in Apple Stores between Tampa and Naples.
In Omaha, Nebraska, sources claim that Apple has agree to open up a store in a renovated and repurposed Crossroads Mall. At one point the city's largest mall, it has since become empty and rundown; developer Frank Krejci bought the property last year, however, and is promising a renovation that will be both open-air and mixed-use, including a library amongst other public spaces. The Apple Store will allegedly include a theater/presentation space, for events like workshops and concerts, but is not expected to open until mall preparations are completed in 2013.
Across the ocean in Italy, Apple has settled on the suburban I Gigli mall as a location in Florence. The store will take over a former Mondadori shop on the ground level. A construction facade has already been put in place, and documents identify a completion date of August 2011. The store should therefore open in September at the latest.
City officials in Madrid, Spain have meanwhile confirmed Apple as occupying all seven floors of 1 Puerta del Sol in the city's main plaza. The building dates back to 1863, and is currently being restored and renovated. The Apple Store is expected to take up at least two floors, with the rest handling offices, meeting rooms and possibly some training areas.
Apple was at one point rumored to have only leased the basement. The building's famous "Tio Pepe" sign has in any case been temporarily removed, with plans to put it back once other work is finished. The Apple Store's opening day is unknown, but may be some time off.