Apple recently released the redesigned version of their proposed flagship store at Federation Square. However, the new plans continue to face major opposition from critics.
Announced last year by the state government, plans for the new Apple store at Federation Square were met with a backlash not only against the design, which was described as a ‘Pizza Hut Pagoda’, but also the privatisation of public space and lack of public consultation.
The new Apple store will come up on the site of the existing Yarra building.
A new community group, Citizens for Melbourne was formed earlier this year to spearhead the protest against the proposed redevelopment.
To counter criticism against the first store design, Apple unveiled a revised design recently for the store. The new design, referred to as a ‘floating iPad’, has a rectangular layout with design highlights including glass windows on the first floor, coloured mesh on the second, a public balcony overlooking the Yarra River and an amphitheatre for public performances.
The design and construction of the Apple store building will be overseen by a special steering committee set up by the Victorian Government to address issues raised by the local council. The new design was supported by Federation Square chief executive Jonathan Tribe, who said the revised plan complemented the existing buildings at the square.
The community group, Citizens for Melbourne believes that a large multinational company shouldn’t have a store in a major public space. Brett de Hoedt from the group pointed out the failure of the state government to include the public in discussions.
The new design has failed to impress even the National Trust of Australia with Victorian chief executive Simon Ambrose commenting that the primary issue of the Yarra building being demolished to make way for the new Apple store, still remained to be addressed.
The Fed Square plans also face opposition from Greens state MP for Melbourne Ellen Sandell who spoke about the public not being consulted on handing over an important community space to a rich multinational company.
To counter the significant opposition to the Fed Square Apple store proposal, the state government points to the number of commercial entities already in the space including bars and restaurants. The store will bring an additional two million people to the site annually and will help boost the local tech sector, says the government.
While the government says that no public money will be used to develop the site, they are yet to reveal any commercial details about the Apple lease.