Site owner confirms Apple Chicago store leased

More info on industry's worse kept secret

The Chicago Tribune has added to the growing body of evidence that Apple is indeed building a retail outlet in the Windy City.

According to the paper, Apple has signed a "long-term lease" for the 33,000sq ft site at 679 N. Michigan Avenue - a location already revealed as Apple's choice for its Chicago store. The site emerged as a possible Apple retail space last November when local paper Chicago Business revealed the company was in negotiations to lease the site.

The CT report cites building owner Nicholas Karris as saying: "The leasing agreement includes a provision requiring an upscale new presentation consistent with the character of the Magnificent Mile retail environment."

He also said Apple is planning to refit the site completely. The store was previously held by Gap. The store will be located alongside the likes of Armani, Hugo Boss, the Disney Store and the Virgin Megastore.

The CB story's source claimed Apple was looking to open the store this Spring, but the CT report suggests Spring 2002. Certainly, the original date looks unlikely, especially if renovation work has yet to commence on the site, but an earlier opening date is possible. People who have watched the construction of what's believed to be Apple's Palo Alto store reckon it could easily by finished and kitted out by MacWorld Expo New York in July.

However, it's increasingly looking like Apple is planning a phased roll-out rather than a big nationwide launch. The location identified in Littleton, Colorado is not expected to open until November, for example. ®

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