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Why Santa Monica Will Do Whatever Some Store Wants

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Although it hasn't been confirmed that an Apple store is moving into that futuristic, glass-roofed bunker retail space proposed for Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade (city officials haven't returned our call), Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., the downtown area's marketing organization, is pretty much saying it is. Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. publishes The Beat, a quarterly newsletter about goings-on in the neighborhood. Alongside stories on plastic bag bans, biking, and the Expo Line station, is an article on the Apple store, calling the 8,084 square foot space, complete with 34 foot high glass ceiling, an "architectural tour-de-force." According to the story, the current Apple store is one of SM's "top 25 producers of sales tax revenue and one of the top revenue generators Downtown, pulling in $352 million in sales during fiscal year 2010-11." The new store will likely "generate annual revenues upwards of $4,400 per square foot," like similar stores in Shanghai and New York do.

Thanks to agreements with Apple, the store will generate tens of thousands in childcare-related and cultural arts fees for the city, as well as healthy credits for employees to cycle ($20 for bike maintenance) and take transit to the store ($100/month--monthly Metro and Big Blue Bus passes are both much cheaper than that).

But back to the money--the money!--which Santa Monica seems to be foaming at the mouth over. Councilmember Kevin McKeown tells The Beat, "The new building is smaller than what used to sit on the site" (a three-story building formerly housed a Borders), "yet provides Apple, already the top revenue generator on the Promenade, a permanent custom home in Santa Monica."

Meanwhile, even though the building was approved by the Planning Commission and the Architectural Review Board, a local architect is filing an appeal to the ARB's approval, saying the glass roof will keep the structure from complying with California energy codes.
· The Beat [Official Site (pdf)]
· Someone Wants to Build a Glass-Roofed Apple Store [Curbed LA]

Apple

1415 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA