By Stephanie Zhang
Refined designs for the Apple Global Flagship Store proposed for Federation Square were formally submitted to the Minister for Planning on Friday, June 20.
The new design includes new solar power initiatives and more public space.
It has also introduced Today at Apple, a daily program collaborating with local talent to host free events.
The original Apple Store design was met with loud criticism. It was announced unexpectedly last December as part of the state government’s refresh of Federation Square. A public debate held earlier this year found that over 90 per cent of the live audience was opposed to the store.
Simon Ambrose, CEO of the National Trust of Australia, believes while it is encouraging that Apple is open to redesign, it has little effect.
“It does not respond to the fundamental concerns that were proposed earlier about the demolition of a significant building in our city’s town square,” he said.
“The updated design has also been prepared without community consultation with its most important stakeholders – the people of Victoria,” Mr Ambrose added.
“We think Apple doesn’t fit in Federation Square,” Tania Davide, from Citizens for Melbourne, said to the ABC. Citizens for Melbourne previously circulated a petition opposing the development which has been signed by almost 30,000 people.
“Federation Square should be primarily based around people, not Apple products,” Ms Davide said.
However, Federation Square CEO Jonathan Tribe supports the plan.
“The Apple Global Flagship Store is consistent with, and contributes to, Federation Square’s Civic and Cultural Charter, which recognises Melbourne’s pre-eminence as a centre for creativity and innovation,” Mr Tribe said.
“This is more than just a store, it is a community activation space that will host arts, cultural, tech and music events complementing the original charter of Fed Square,” said John Eren, the Minister for Tourism and Major Events.
The development is expected to boost visitor numbers.
The redevelopment is also estimated to create over 250 construction jobs and 200 other ongoing jobs across the precinct, and the store is expected to open in late 2020.
The Minister for Planning will consult Melbourne City Council, the Office of the Victorian Government Architect and Federation Square before a final decision is made.
By Stephanie Zhang