Apple has confirmed that its new Grand Central Store will open on December 9, updating the ticker of screens surrounding the perimeter of the space to read “Apple Store, Grand Central. Arriving Friday, December 9″.
Instapaper creator Marco Arment tweeted a photo of the new signage, confirming earlier reports that the store would open next weekend.
The store is said to be subject to a State probe after details of a favourable lease secured by Apple for its new retail store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal caught the attention of authorities, the New York Post reports.
Watchdogs were alerted by a previous report which suggested that Apple had obtained favourable terms on its Grand Central store lease, which was found to be more than three times less than other retailers in the building’s retail areas.
The store, which is expected to open next weekend is said to be costing Apple $60 per-square-foot, whereas other retailers are expected to pay $200 for the same area. Apple is also reported to have escaped having to share any of its revenue with Grand Central’s operator, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as the sheer presence of an official retail store will drive customers to other retailers and increase footfall within the Terminal itself.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has launched a probe into whether the MTA gave Apple favourable treatment for its lease:
“The article in the New York Post about the MTA’s contract with Apple in Grand Central Terminal is a cause for concern,” DiNapoli said in a statement yesterday. “This is a prime property, and I intend to make sure that the MTA hasn’t given away the store.”
However, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan moved quickly to state that Apple has helped to develop the Terminal’s infrastructure, introducing elevators to assist customers with their navigation throughout the store. Apple is also reported to have paid $5 million to the previous occupants of the space to move from the location.
He acknowledged that the MTA has worked to the Comptroller’s recommendations:
“The MTA moved proactively to maximize revenue and quadrupled the rent we receive for this unique space.
They are effectively paying $180 per square foot over the 10 years of the lease, almost 10 times the previous tenant.”
There’s no doubt that an Apple Store within the Grand Central building will boost numbers within the space but State watchdogs are making sure it is all above board. The store is due to open next weekend and is expected to generate more than $100 million in sales.