It’s time for construction on the new Apple Store at 401 North Michigan Avenue to go full steam ahead. The city has issued a “full building permit for proposed 1-story retail space addition.”
Previously, though the site looked busy, progress was restricted to certain phases of the project. Back in March, work was permitted on the foundations. Then in April, the elevator shaft got a green light. A month later, full demolition of the south end of Pioneer Court down through Level C was OK’ed, along with the erection of a tower crane. Then in August, the superstructure of the retail space and its basement were given a go-ahead.
That’s a lot of paperwork, and doesn’t even include the new Apple company office on the 11th floor of the former Equitable tower. At this point, the below grade Apple Store is considered a portion of that tower, since it’s taking up space that used to be the building’s cafeteria and parking garage.
The store being built by Power Construction for Zeller Realty Group will provide a focal point for Pioneer Plaza, which to date has been decorated with itinerant art and commercial displays. At the same time, it will redefine a little-used segment of the Chicago Riverwalk on the north side of the river, and draw people to the river’s edge in an inviting space that was formerly a concrete dead end.
City paperwork lists the store’s architect as Mahn Kon Peter Han, of Foster+Partner’s New York office. The renderings released by his office so far show an above-grade glass pavilion, acting as a gateway to the store. Stylistically, it’s at a mid-point between the Midwest prairie aesthetic of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the full-on ultra-tech Apple experience most recently deployed in places like China and Turkey.