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Apple amends its designs for planned Back Bay store
[June 14, 2006]

Apple amends its designs for planned Back Bay store

(Boston Globe, The (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Jun. 14--After two months of delays, Apple Computer plans today to present several building designs for its first Boston store at a hearing before the Back Bay Architectural Commission.

Apple is seeking to demolish a small building at 815 Boylston St. that houses a Copy Cop store and construct a three-story building with a glass faade across from the Prudential Center.

At an advisory meeting in March, commissioners expressed concerns about the design, saying it didn't have a sense of place, and suggested that Apple replicate or preserve the existing faade. In its latest filings to the city, Apple has proposed several designs that would add vertical columns and divide the faade in nine sections. It gives a boxier look, appearing to fit in more with adjacent buildings.

Stephen V. Miller of McDermott, Quilty & Miller LLP, a Boston firm representing Apple, said the company is presenting different ideas, "variations on the original design that take into account input we've gotten from the staff and members of the commission to tie the faade more into other buildings in the area."

Miller said the company delayed its previous two hearings with the commission because "they just weren't ready. They spend a lot of time with these signature stores, and they don't rush into anything."

Miller previously said the Apple store would be a "nonstarter" if the existing building can't be demolished. Demolition in the Back Bay Architectural District generally requires the commission's approval. The commission can either approve, deny, or deny without prejudice such proposals.

Apple is proposing to demolish a 16,587-square-foot building and construct a new one with a full basement that measures about 22,116 square feet. Apple wants to create three floors for retail; the basement would be reserved for support services and equipment. Sketches of the inside show a spiral staircase in the center of the store.

A San Francisco architecture firm, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, is designing the project.

When Apple first began talking to the city about its plans this year, the Boston Redevelopment Authority described the Boylston Street site as a prime location for Apple that would attract thousands of young people in the heart of a top shopping district that also has hotels and the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center. Apple "represents innovation, technology and cutting-edge design, all of which we think match the Boston brand," BRA spokeswoman Susan Elsbree said in February.

Apple already operates stores in Braintree, Burlington, Cambridge, Chestnut Hill, and Peabody.

Last month, Apple opened its second New York City store, described as the company's "most architecturally innovative," and featuring a 32-foot glass cube. The Apple Store Fifth Avenue is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and offers more than 100 Macs and nearly 200 iPods, as well as the world's largest assortment of accessories.

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