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South Carolina: Columbia to get Apple Store?

 
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The Pontificator
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:01 am    Post subject: South Carolina: Columbia to get Apple Store? Reply with quote

http://www.thestate.com/breaking/story/908805.html

Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009
Is Apple Store on the way for Five Points?
Those in the know aren’t saying whether Five Points might land business
By JEFF WILKINSON - jwilkinson@thestate.com
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Could there be an Apple Store in Columbia’s future?

The developers of the former Kenny’s auto site in Five Points won’t say the “A” word. But Stan Harpe, a partner in the project, said he is talking with “a high-end computer company with stores in Charlotte and Charleston.”

That points to Apple, manufacturer of the popular iPhone, iPod and Mac laptops. The company, which is based in Cupertino, Calif., has stores on Charleston’s King Street and in Charlotte’s SouthPark mall.

“But nothing is written in stone,” Harpe said. “We’re talking with several different people.”

Harpe said that, in addition to the computer store, a national clothing store chain is looking at the space.

Efforts to reach Apple officials were unsuccessful.

But just the possibility of an Apple Store in Colatown had fans buzzing.

“That would be the best thing in the world,” self-proclaimed Apple Fanboy Chris Malloy said Wednesday.

The 30-year-old USC nursing student from Charleston said he spends $35 to $45 a month on software — apps — for his iPhone. He termed his iPhone “one of the best things I’ve ever bought.”

Three weeks ago, Malloy and his wife, Catherine, went to New York for the premiere of the movie Julie & Julia (Catherine is Julia Child’s great-niece). One of their must stops was the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue.

“It’s like going to a museum or an art gallery where everyone there has the same appreciation for a great work of art,” Malloy said. “Their iPhone — even the new little laptops — is beautiful in and of itself.”

Colin Campsie, a USC junior, works in the Russell House’s Gamecock AppleHub station. It’s a smaller version of an Apple Store that sells Macs, iPods and accessories but not iPhones.

Campsie said he was unaware of any plans for a new store in Five Points.

“But that would be very cool, just for the convenience,” he said.

The retail plan is a serious turnaround for the Kenny’s site, on Blossom Street between Saluda and Santee avenues.

The development was planned as a six-story retail, condo and parking garage complex. But that plan cratered last year after an eleventh-hour flip-flop by City Council on its participation in the two floors of public parking.

City residents, during an election year, had also complained about the building’s height.

The complex, now called Shoppes at Five Points, has been whittled back to three, free-standing, one-story buildings — a 14,000-square-foot Walgreens drugstore and two other retail spaces — one 4,200 square feet, the other 2,000 square feet.

Work on Walgreens is under way and is just starting on the other two buildings. Harpe said all the stores should be ready for occupancy in January.

The Apple Store, if it drops here, would go into the 4,200-square-foot building being built at Blossom Street and Santee Avenue.

That site was formerly slated for a bank. However, the BB&T branch went to the Hiller Hardware site a block away, freeing up the building.

The 2,000-square-foot space, being built on Devine Street near Saluda Avenue, will be a restaurant — probably a national chain not now in Columbia, Harpe said.

Merritt McHaffie, executive director of the Five Points Association of merchants, said she was familiar with the plans and potential tenants but wouldn’t confirm or deny any names.

“I understand that they are seeking high-end quality businesses, which is something Five Points needs,” she said. “We would rather have a six-story building with residential and two floors of parking, but that is water under the bridge.”
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The Pontificator
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update of sorts:

(same media source...thestate.com)

Columbia could know by May whether an Apple Store will land in the old Kenny's auto site in Five Points.

The developer of The Shoppes at Five Points said Apple representatives were in town recently, but still haven't made a decision on whether to locate in a new 4,600-square-foot storefront at Blossom and Santee streets.

In the meantime, developer Stan Harpe said a Qdoba Mexican Grill will go in a 2,000-square-foot storefront he and partner Ron Swinson also built on the site. The store, which fronts Devine Street, should open mid-April.

And Walgreens is still on track for the main, 14,000-square-foot building on the site, at Saluda Avenue and Blossom Street, also with a mid-April opening.

But Apple would be the plum for the funky urban village near USC, said Merritt McHaffie, executive director of the Five Points Association of merchants.

"Its close proximity to USC would make it a big hit," she said.

Harpe said he has had other offers on the space, "but we would really love to see Apple come."

Apple spokeswoman Amy Barney offered no clue as to the likelihood of a store here.

"We haven't made any announcement about a store in that location," was all she would offer in a telephone interview from her Cupertino, Calif., office.

Apple is the manufacturer of the popular iPhone, iPod and Mac laptops. So intense are customers' loyalty to the products they sometimes call themselves the Cult of Mac

The company has stores on Charleston's King Street and in Charlotte's SouthPark mall.

The store would be a coup for The Shoppes at Five Points.

The development originally was planned as a six-story retail, condo and parking garage complex. But that plan cratered last year after an eleventh-hour flip-flop by Columbia City Council on its participation in the two floors of public parking.

Harpe and Swinson are suing the city for $1.4 million

City residents, during an election year, also had complained about the building's height.

The complex was whittled back to three free-standing one-story buildings.
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