updated 11:45 am EDT, Fri September 2, 2011
City of London asks for powers to bypass rules
Apple is hoping to open a new London retail store in the city's financial district, but may be stopped by laws meant to guarantee other property owners access to sunlight, Reuters reports. A source tells the news agency that a US developer, Hines, is looking to buy real estate at 100 Cheapside and build a 10-storey development with 87,000 square feet for offices and 13,000 square feet for retail. Apple is interested in occupying the retail space, the source says.
The land is currently owned by the City of London though, which has published an internal report warning that the Hines development could affect sunlight for "a total of 13 properties, eight to an extent that their owners are likely to seek injunctions preventing the development proceeding." The City's local authority is asking transport and policy committees to grant it powers to override the sunlight laws; a vote on the matter is due later this month. Should that not pass Hines could conceivably try to settle with the other property owners. The developer is already said to be offering the City 762,000 pounds toward community improvements and the east-west Crossrail train link.
Apple currently has three outlets in London's core. A Cheapside location would in fact be just two miles from the Covent Garden store, but might serve to spread out in-store traffic and cater to the financial district's richer shoppers.