San Francisco Officials Suggest Significant Changes Needed for Apple's New Flagship Store Proposal

Last month, Apple submitted plans to relocate its flagship San Francisco retail store three blocks north, putting the new store directly on Union Square, the heart of the city's high-end shopping district.

Despite initial praise for the project from city officials, Apple's proposal rapidly drew criticism for a number of its features, including an 80-foot-long blank wall along Stockton Street and the apparent removal of a sculptural fountain currently located at the entrance stairway to a public plaza.

The San Francisco Chronicle now reports that the city's Planning Department has issued its preliminary project assessment (PDF) on Apple's proposal, indicating that it would like to see a number of changes to the project.

There's too much glass on Post Street and too much metal on Stockton. The plaza that would accompany it needs a friendlier entrance. Planners also want the project to include a circular bronze fountain by Ruth Asawa that is the centerpiece of the plaza now on the block.

Despite all this, the city's top planner said Thursday that he sees no reason Apple can't build a modernistic metal-and-glass box within the historic setting of the Union Square retail district.

The city's planners object to the uniform wall of glass along the store's main frontage on Post Street, suggesting that Apple should do more to break up the wall by including colors or textures or vertical design elements. The planners also suggest possibilities for improving the blank Stockton Street frontage, including adding windows or pulling back the storefront to allow for landscaping and perhaps public seating areas.

apple_store_sf_union_square_large
Regarding Apple's controversial proposed changes to the public plaza behind the store, planning officials have asked Apple find a way to widen the entrance stairway to help draw in visitors. Apple is also being asked to try incorporate the existing fountain sculpture by noted San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa into the new plaza design, and if it is not feasible, to assist with finding a new location for the fountain.

The Chronicle also spoke with San Francisco mayor Ed Lee about the fountain. Lee, who had been unaware of its proposed removal following his initial viewing of the project plans, suggests that an agreement with Apple to secure the fountain's fate may be near.

"I've had some very good conversations with Apple and the managers of the Hyatt," said Lee, who praised Apple's plans in May as "incredible" but later told The Chronicle he hadn't realized the new building would disrupt the Asawa fountain. "I think a decision will be made in a short period of time."

Apple has not disclosed a timeline for constructing the new store and relocating its operations from the existing store at 1 Stockton Street, and its timeline may depend on how long negotiations with city officials take to achieve a design satisfactory to all parties.

Top Rated Comments

QCassidy352 Avatar
119 months ago
"The city's planners object to the uniform wall of glass along the store's main frontage on Post Street, suggesting that Apple should do more to break up the wall by including colors or textures or vertical design elements."

How on earth did we get to the point where we think this is a proper function of government?
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macse30 Avatar
119 months ago
The Planning Department also asked for colors or textures or vertical design elements on the iPhone5S.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
autrefois Avatar
119 months ago
"The city's planners object to the uniform wall of glass along the store's main frontage on Post Street, suggesting that Apple should do more to break up the wall by including colors or textures or vertical design elements."

How on earth did we get to the point where we think this is a proper function of government?

How on Earth did we get to the point where people think what a corporation wants is more important than what a city wants?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pavelbure Avatar
119 months ago
"The city's planners object to the uniform wall of glass along the store's main frontage on Post Street, suggesting that Apple should do more to break up the wall by including colors or textures or vertical design elements."

How on earth did we get to the point where we think this is a proper function of government?


Keep voting democrat.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69650 Avatar
119 months ago
How on earth did we get to the point where we think this is a proper function of government?

What would you suggest city planners do instead? or would you prefer a system with no regulations? I can see their point if this design doesn't fit with the surrounding architecture. All they're trying to do is make a better city for the residents to live in. Don't see how that infringes your civil liberties or is it just because they are saying it to Apple. Thou shalt not question the wisdom and decisions of the all mighty Apple machine.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gauntlet999 Avatar
119 months ago
Not surprising...

"The city's planners object to the uniform wall of glass along the store's main frontage on Post Street, suggesting that Apple should do more to break up the wall by including colors or textures or vertical design elements."

How on earth did we get to the point where we think this is a proper function of government?

Planning and Design Review have always been functions of city government, it may be frustrating at times but it's nothing new.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...
ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and...
iOS 16 battery percentage

Apple Limiting iOS 16 Beta 5 Battery Percentage Display to Select iPhones: Here Are the Supported Devices

Tuesday August 9, 2022 2:51 am PDT by
Apple this week brought back one of the most highly requested features from iOS users since the launch of the iPhone X in 2017: the ability to see your battery percentage directly in the status bar. Ever since the launch of the iPhone X with the notch, Apple has not allowed users to show their battery percentage directly in the status bar, forcing them to swipe down into Control Center to...
ios 16 battery indicator 2

Everything New in iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage in Status Bar, Find My Changes and More

Monday August 8, 2022 12:53 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of iOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, introducing some small but notable changes to the iOS operating system. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've rounded up everything new in the fifth beta below. Battery Percentage in Status Bar The battery icon in the status bar now displays the exact battery percent, a feature that ...
iphone 14 pro max camera bump compared lipilipsi 16 9

Bigger iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Bump Shown Alongside iPhone 13 Pro Max

Monday August 8, 2022 4:33 am PDT by
The camera bump on the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to be the largest rear lens housing Apple has ever installed on its flagship smartphones, and a new photo offers a rare glimpse at just how prominent it is compared to Apple's predecessor device. iPhone 14 Pro Max dummy (left) vs iPhone 13 Pro Max All iPhone 14 models are expected to see upgrades to the Ultra Wide camera on the...
airpods pro black background

Beyond iPhone 14: Five Apple Products Expected to Launch Later This Year

Monday August 8, 2022 9:43 am PDT by
While the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 are expected to be announced in September as usual, there are several more Apple products rumored to launch later this year, including new iPad and Mac models and more. Beyond the iPhone and Apple Watch, we've put together a list of five Apple products that are most likely to be unveiled by the end of 2022. Second-Generation AirPods Pro Apple...