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Last we heard, Apple had officially backed out of a plan to open its fifth Manhattan store in Grand Central Terminal after several months of hype. Now, though, the hype is back: Today's WSJ reports that restaurant Métrazur will be leaving its prime position in one of Grand Central's balconies, opening up a space that could be perfect for Apple. Contrary to earlier rumors, this wouldn't be Apple's biggest location, though it could easily be the one that draws the most tourists. The tech giant wouldn't comment, but MTA rep Jeremy Soffin tells the paper that his agency "has spoken with Apple about the space and hopes that the company bids on it."
Anyone who takes over the space can expect to pay a lot more than Métrazur, which agreed on an annual rent of about $400,000 back in 1998. Since then, the MTA has poured funds into an expensive Grand Central renovation and run into major budget problems, giving it plenty of reasons to jack up the prices on its prime real estate holdings. Right now, for example, a little 725-square-foot seafood counter inside the Grand Central Market is going for $145,000 a year plus a share of the profits. Add to that the fact that any new tenant in the balcony spot would have to buy Métrazur out of its lease, and you're talking about the financial equivalent of a heck of a lot of iPods.
· Apple Kills Plans for Grand Central Terminal Store [Racked NY]
· BOMBSHELL: Apple Confirmed for Grand Central Terminal [Racked NY]
· Grand Central Apple Store Seed Planted [WSJ]