Chicago: Officially Official (4/5/01)
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More on the Apple retail store front: those of you in the Windy City can officially start the party. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the owner of that choice Magnificent Mile storefront that Apple was eyeing has confirmed that the ink is now officially on the paper: Steve signed a "long-term lease." (Oh, you didn't realize that the Chicago gig wasn't actually a done deal? Well, it's reportedly etched in stone now, so keep your shirt on.) So yeah, eventually Chicago-area Mac mavens will be able to squeeze their big shoulders through the doors of 679 N. Michigan and check out the latest gear in 33,000 square feet of 100% pure grade-A Cupertino style.

The only question now is "when." The original snippet in Crain's Chicago Business that broke the news of Apple's retail negotiations last November stated that Apple's Chicago superstore would be opening "next spring," which we took to mean this spring. However, the Trib now claims otherwise; due in part to Apple's plans to gut the mammoth ex-Gap store and remake it in a vision of Jobsian grandeur (an "upscale new presentation" is actually stipulated in Apple's contract, since Michigan Avenue has to keep its swanky image intact), the Apple Store Chicago is now reportedly slated to open its doors to the public in the spring of next year. So we're looking at maybe at least a year before Chicagoans can party down in Apple's hallowed retail halls.

Hopefully that estimate is on the cautious side, and Steve can talk to the construction crew and conjure up some of that sixteen-hour workday magic that he's famous for extracting from his own crew back in Cupertino. (We just got a mental image of Steve cracking the whip on a hypothetical and stereotypically lazy road construction crew; we've got a whole "irresistible force/immoveable object" thing going on.) If we had to make a completely uneducated guess based on nothing but a gut feeling, we'd have to bet that Apple is going to do everything it can to get the Chicago store open in time for the holiday season-- because Michigan Avenue is mobbed at that time of year, and missing out on such a high volume of window-shoppers would be a real bummer, mind-share-wise.

Even if the "spring 2002" opening date is accurate, though, we doubt that implies that we'll be waiting for all of Apple's retail stores that long. We expect the first location will open to the public at July's Macworld Expo at the absolute latest-- and call us terminally optimistic, but we're still banking on the debut to happen either this month or next. Of course, with no Boston location yet determined, it's not like we have much to lose if we're wrong, but it's still fun to dream.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 4/5/01 episode:

April 5, 2001: The mothership's still keeping mum, but the owner of a Chicago storefront confirms that Apple has signed a long-term lease. Meanwhile, Monster.com provides further clues that Apple retail stores are headed for Minneapolis (and a few bonus surprise cities), and a rare interview with Steve Jobs settles the mystery of the Tokyo Suit once and for all...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2971: More Pieces Of The Puzzle (4/5/01)   In other Apple retail store news, the Mac Observer claims to have secured further evidence to back up AppleInsider's recent claim that Minneapolis will be getting a brick-and-mortar Apple store of its own...

  • 2972: Get Your USRDA of S. J. RDF (4/5/01)   Running low on Steveosity? Need a heaping helping of Steve to get you through the rest of the week? Is your life not as Stevelicious as it probably should be? You're in luck; The Age has just published a lengthy article on everyone's favorite CEO-- and it's an interview!...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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