Apple Slammed After Mega Store Deal Bellyflops
The mighty US brand Apple has been slammed after they were refused permission to build a mega store at Melbourne’s Federation Square.
The presence of an Apple store bang in the middle of one of Melbourne’s key landmarks has been described as a disastrous deal by The Victorian Opposition spokesman for planning and heritage, Tim Smith, who said the outcome damage Victoria’s reputation as a place to do business.
In its decision, Heritage Victoria said it had refused the application because it would cause “an unacceptable and irreversible detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of Federation Square”.
The decision comes as Apple’s core iPhone business is in serious decline with consumers either dumping or not buying what is seen as “overpriced and underperforming” smartphones.
In a statement responding to the decision, the Victorian Government said the store could no longer go ahead.
“Apple and the Victorian Government have acknowledged that based on Heritage Victoria’s decision, the proposed Apple global flagship store cannot proceed,” it said.
In a separate statement, Apple said: “While we are disappointed, we’re no longer able to pursue our plan for Federation Square, we remain committed to serving our customers in Melbourne and across Australia.”
The Andrews Government caused furore when what has been described as a money grabbing deal angered many when it approved a plan for Apple to build a “flagship” store on the site, which is considered a cultural precinct rather than a commercial area.
Part of the inspiration for the store was a desire to boost revenue for the square, which has struggled financially in recent years.
Jobs Minister Martin Pakula said a review would now take place to consider the square’s future.
The ABC reported that the Community action group Citizens for Melbourne said it was “wonderful news for Fed Square and a win for the community”.
Spokesperson Tania Davidge said the Apple proposal would have undermined Federation Square’s character and civil and cultural purpose.
“Public spaces of the significance of Fed Square do not come along every day. It’s important to fight for what we value,” she said.
“Melbourne without a town square is Melbourne without a civic heart”.