Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Apple Lands In The Middle of State

Ever since Pier One on State Street closed last year, rumors have continued to circulate that an Apple Store would be moving into the premises that Pier One had vacated in the 900 block of State Street.

928 State Street as it appeared when Pier 1 still occupied it.

Back in September I learned that Apple was all set to go on the former Pier One location. However, they wanted the mezzanine taken out. When the landlord applied for a permit to remove it the City told them no. The mezzanine was part of the earthquake retrofit and is now an essential part of the integrity of the structure. Apple didn't want to proceed with the deal unless they get their way on taking out the mezzanine.

Now all the evidence is pointing to the fact that Apple has gotten its way and will be moving in.

Reader John Padfield tipped me off to the fact that there was more activity on this front. Back on October 1st, the City's Historic Landmark's Commission (the building which is the former home of the "Rogers Furniture Building" is on the City's List of Potential Historic Resources) gave its final approval to the removal of the existing mezzanine and constructing a new second story floor area at 928 State Street.

The outside windows of the store have recently been covered over with black plywood to hide whatever work is being done inside.

I'm an Apple fanatic myself, but it's hard for me to believe that little old Santa Barbara has a large enough population base to support a full-fledged Apple store. Especially when you consider that it's been rumored that Apple will be paying about $68,000 a month in rent.

But San Luis Obispo, which in many ways looks like Santa Barbara did 30 years ago, has its own Apple Store. And because there is no parking in front of the store or in the rear, customers who purchase large items are given walkie-talkies and instructed to use them to let the staff know when they have pulled their cars up to the front of the store. Staff then bring the item they've purchased out to the car, load it, and the customer can then take off.

Whenever the Santa Barbara Apple Store opens its doors, you'll know where to find me.