San Francisco Mayor to Take Another Look at Apple's Proposed Union Square Store Following Criticism
Earlier this week, the San Francisco Chronicle addressed some criticisms of Apple's proposed flagship store for the city's Union Square retail district, a store that would replace the current flagship a few blocks to the south. While the announcement of Apple's plans several weeks ago had been accompanied by glowing remarks from city politicians, critics have pointed to a long blank wall along Stockton Street and the removal of a popular fountain behind the store as significant issues for the plans.
The Chronicle now follows up on the situation, quoting San Francisco mayor Ed Lee as saying that he hadn't realized Apple's plans called for removal of the fountain and reporting that he would be taking another look to see if it could be kept.
"We weren't necessarily focused on that side," Lee said, referring to a plaza along Stockton Street where the fountain stands. "It wasn't part of our discussion." [...]
"I need to take a look and visualize" how the fountain would or would not complement Apple's proposal for a raised narrow plaza between its store and the Grand Hyatt. The hotel tower was built in tandem with the plaza and the retail building in the early 1970s. "We have to see whether it might fit in."
Lee also addressed the issue of the 80 foot-long blank wall along Stockton Street, noting that city officials had raised objections to it during initial discussions and that Apple had been "very receptive" to those concerns. The city places distinct emphasis on activating the street-level experience in the pedestrian-oriented Union Square shopping district, and Apple's plans would create a significant gap in that experience.
The project still needs to proceed through reviews by the city's planning and historic preservation commissions, and it could see tweaks as a result of discussions with those groups. Apple has not commented further on the project, and the Grand Hyatt hotel that owns the property and fountain simply notes that "it's too premature" to address whether there may be changes to the proposal.