Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) proposed Apple Store location in San Francisco’s Union Square district may be subject to further design changes after San Francisco’s Planning Department issued a Preliminary Project Assessment. The project has recently come under extra scrutiny after the San Francisco Chronicle’s urban design critic John King drew attention to the detrimental effects that the store would have on the surrounding neighborhood.
One criticism centered on a blank façade that will face Stockton Street. Another contentious issue was the elimination of a historical Ruth Asawa fountain that is currently located in the Stockton Street plaza. The fountain was made by the famous Japanese-American sculptor Ruth Asawa and has been a feature of the plaza since 1973.
In their assessment, the Planning Department recommends that the Stockton Street blank façade be changed to “include a more active, transparent treatment” that could include display windows or windows that allow a view of the store’s interior. The document also proposes “recessing the building wall from the street to allow for landscape, water and/or seating to generate an active zone.”
Regarding the historical fountain, the Planning Department asks Apple to, “Consider the retention or relocation of the Ruth Asawa fountain as a part of the new reconfigured plaza, perhaps connecting it to, and integrating it with, another water theme within the plaza. If not feasible, the Department would like to work with the Sponsors to find an alternative location for its display within the City.”
Overall, the Planning Department would like Apple to make a store that will “be an integral part of San Francisco’s historic Union Square district and Apple both at the same time.” Apple’s new store will replace the current San Francisco retail store that is located at Stockton and Ellis. The Union Square location will be 45 percent larger to accommodate the store’s growing popularity. There are a total of three Apple Stores in San Francisco, including the store that is changing locations.
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