D.C. Nixes Apple's Plans for Modern Store
By Angela Serratore | Online Only | Jan. 29, 2009
UPDATE: Apple's new store was approved on Mar. 5, 2009.
Apple's attempts to open its first store in the District of Columbia have once again been put on hold.
For the third time, the Old Georgetown Board, an advisory commission acting under the authority of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, rejected Apple's proposal for a new store that would replace a building in the city's Georgetown neighborhood that Apple has owned for more than a year. The Dec. 2 rejection comes after similar shut-downs by the Board on Oct. 18, 2007, and Mar. 20, 2008. While the site in question is not itself a historic building, Georgetown, a shopping mecca for tourists and locals, is a National Historic Landmark district notable for its Federal style houses and businesses, and any significant changes to a structure must pass the board's strict review.
"Georgetown cannot become a collection of interesting, even exceptional, modern designs without losing the character that merited its designation as a National Historic Landmark," says Barbara Zartman, chair of the Historic Preservation and Zoning Committee of the Citizens Association of Georgetown. (Members of the board did not return phone calls from Preservation.)
Sketches of the proposed designs have not been released to the public, but according to Zartman, "The two recent designs proposed by Apple are very sleek, modern concepts, low and horizontal, with lots of glass and open space. There is beautiful design work, which would be welcome additions in other contemporary commercial environments. Apple seems committed to a single-story operation, very much out of style with the structures that define Georgetown's commercial areas."
As for the architect's next move, a spokesperson for San Franciso-based Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, offered no comment. A charette with the Old Georgetown Board and the architects was scheduled a few days after the third rejection, but the meeting was cancelled.
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