The Victorian Government has announced that the Apple store will no longer go ahead on Melbourne’s iconic Fed Square site
"Apple and the Victorian Government have acknowledged that based on Heritage Victoria's decision, the proposed Apple global flagship store cannot proceed," a government statement told the media.
While in a separate statement, Apple says that "While we are disappointed we're no longer able to pursue our plan for Federation Square, we remain committed to serving our customers in Melbourne and across Australia."
For its part, Heritage Victoria told the ABC that an Apple Store on the site would cause "an unacceptable and irreversible detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of Federation Square".
Over at the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Victorian Chapter, there was a sense of near-jubilation at the decision.
“We are delighted by the decision to move forward with a process that seeks expert input from Victorian Government Architect Jill Garner and broad community engagement through a public consultation process,” says the AIA.
“Federation Square is Victoria’s premier civic and cultural space, representing celebration and public interaction.”
“The Institute has been advocating consistently against the Victorian Government’s plans for the future of Federation Square and lack of due process since they were first announced in 2017,” says the AIA.
“As the most awarded project in the history of the Victorian Architecture Awards, Heritage Victoria’s decision acknowledges the value that Federation Square brings to the public realm of Melbourne in its entirety.”
One voice of dissent came from the Victorian Liberal opposition, which also speaking to the ABC noted that the outcome was a "disastrous deal" that will damage Victoria's reputation as a place to do business.
However community action group Citizens for Melbourne says the decision was "wonderful news for Fed Square and a win for the community".
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