In December, Apple announced its plans to open a new flagship retail location at the Federation Square shopping center in Melbourne, Australia in 2020. Since that announcement, many locals have come out against the store and the demolition of the existing Yarra building, arguing that the public space in Federation Square should stay that way and not be "given up" to a corporation.
This week, Apple's planned store has faced new backlash in regards to its design, coming from the Melbourne City Council (via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation). During a city council meeting on Tuesday it was reported that Apple's design proposal for the location was "overwhelmingly" rejected by the community through about 800 public submissions disliking the look of the store.
Melbourne councillors then "unanimously backed" a motion to lobby the government for a new store design and public consultation on the project, and now await to see if the government will accept or reject its proposal. Councillor Nicholas Reece was said to have described the proposed store as a "Pizza Hut pagoda."
If the Government rejects the council's proposal, then the administration will encourage Upper House MPs to disallow the planning scheme amendment enabling the project.
Councillor Leppert said the council lacked the power to block the development from going ahead. "This is one of the strongest positions we have taken," he said.
"It reminds me of a Pizza Hut pagoda and I just think it's like something that's rolled off an Apple Store production line," Cr Reece said.
Apple last month said the Federation Square location "respects the original vision for the plaza, with a bespoke design concept and extensive landscaping bringing increased opportunities for the community to enjoy this renowned cultural hub."
Despite uniting against the design of the store, Melbourne councillors are reportedly divided regarding further commercial development in Federation Square. Councillor Reece mentioned "with the right design," Apple's appearance in the area "could be a good thing." As pointed out by ABC in December, before becoming favored by the community today, Federation Square itself was a "controversial piece of architecture" when it was first built in 2002, "with many people dismissing it as ugly and strange."