updated 09:35 am EDT, Thu June 16, 2011
Effort will cost over $6.6 million
Apple has begun the process of dismantling and replacing the glass cube over top its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City. The first construction crews reportedly appeared on Wednesday evening, setting up plywood walls around the structure. The next step is expected to be scaffolding; building permits also indicate that crews will have to do work on the plaza itself, removing bollards, installing new pavers and removing and reinstalling nearby water drains.
The estimated cost of the project is $6,661,050, making it about as expensive as the original construction of the cube in 2005 and 2006, valued at around $7 million. It's not clear why Apple would go to such effort for the cube only to replace it; there could conceivably be safety issues, but Apple might also be planning on implementing more modern design or technology. The company's Pudong store in Shanghai, China uses an elaborate glass cylinder, something it might want to emulate in New York City. Round glass is in fact an emerging theme with Apple buildings, as the company's new headquarters will be a giant ring, with curved windows wrapping all the way around.
Apple can likely justify the price for several reasons. The Fifth Avenue store is one of the most profitable per square foot in an area laced with luxury retailers, and receives even more traffic whenever Apple launches a new iPhone or iPad. It's often the focal point of international media attention during such launches, and is noted to be one of the most photographed tourist attractions, beating out even Times Square.