Apple appears ready to debut its new retail location in New York's Grand Central Terminal, and will reportedly announce the opening of the store Tuesday. Apple's Grand Central store will span two floors, employ roughly 300 people and will reportedly be its largest store in the world, topping its 25,000 square-foot Regent Street location in London. The new location will also likely be the company's busiest store as well: Grand Central Terminal handles about 750,000 daily visitors and more than a million people during the holiday season
Recent visitors to the future Apple Store snapped pictures of construction workers and corporate suits putting the final touches on the store. The store's façade is currently blocked by large black boards, but Apple will presumably remove these boards later this week to make way for the Black Friday crowd.
Apple faced a number of challenges in developing its Grand Central location. In addition to trying to keep its construction a secret, the Cupertino Calif.-based company worked with the New York Police Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to figure out how commuters and Apple customers would coexist during new product releases, where lines have been known to stretch several city blocks. Apple believes its new Apple Store iOS app will help cut down on foot traffic within its physical stores, by allowing customers to place and pick up orders within the application, and also give customers the ability to perform self-checkout.
In the planning stages, Apple prohibited MTA officials from commenting on Apple's courtship attempts to become Grand Central's newest renter. Company executives also attempted to block the MTA from going public with image renderings of the new store, but once construction began, Apple decided to relent.
Rather than transform Grand Central's historic building into an all-white Apple Store, the company opted to work around the architecture to create an outlet that fused Apple's clean look with the beauty of Grand Central Terminal. Tables and chairs resemble the train station's sepia stones, while soaring ceilings and bright chandeliers give the space a luxurious feel.
Grand Central Terminal is already home to about 79 restaurants, retailers and banks, from Banana Republic to Michael Jordan's The Steak House. The Apple Store may be a good fit for Grand Central demographics-wise, where the majority of visitors to the station are slightly older, college-educated men. About 70 percent of all Grand Central Station passengers have a household income exceeding $100,000.
Apple Store openings tend to be big events in the Mac community. Lines may begin forming early in the morning or even the night before the store opens. Apple has traditionally given away t-shirts and lucky bags to the first customers in the store. At the Apple Store opening in San Francisco in 2004, the company gave away an Airport Extreme Wi-Fi station, a copy of Keynote, a wireless keyboard and mouse, a copy of iLife '04, a 10 percent-off card, a Bluetooth adapter, and a .Mac account.
Apple currently has 357 stores worldwide.