The biggest retail change to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile since the new flagship Burberry Store went up in 2013 is starting to take place at Pioneer Plaza.
Demolition has begun in front of 401 North Michigan Avenue for the new “underground” Apple Store Pioneer Court. Fences went up, and a JCB started yanking out paving blocks yesterday afternoon. Loop Spy Marcus double-clicked our tip line when he saw the work beginning, and snaped a couple of quick photos with his iPhone 5S.
The store designed by London’s Foster+Partners will be located underneath Pioneer Court, primarily in a space formerly used as a cafeteria for the 401 North Michigan building. It will open out onto a south-facing view of the Chicago River, with the Loop skyline beyond. The rampart that currently separates the weir-elevated Michigan Avenue plaza from the river will be replaced by a pair of grand staircases encouraging people to finally engage with the river in a place where it’s been virtually walled off for decades.
Above grade, James McGrath’s design will be a mostly glass pavilion, intentionally made light to allow views of the city through. But it will also substantial enough to echo the designs of local architecture hero Frank Lloyd Wright. McGrath has promised there will be, “no retail activity on or in the plaza level.”
Our Daniel Schell popped over and got some up-close-and-personal pics of the destruction that will soon give the city a new public space and retail experience.