Dang No Apple Store For DC!

Guarding the Cube – Apple Store, NYC, originally uploaded by sfophoto.


City Paper shared the news (from The Current) that “You will not be able to visit an Apple Store in the District of Columbia anytime soon!” City Paper continued gave this explanation:

“Earlier this month, both bodies rejected Apple’s design—the third the company had submitted for the property at 1229 Wisconsin Ave. NW, a Georgetown storefront the company has owned for more than a year—because, as the Current’s Carol Buckley puts it, it “would not fit into Georgetown.””

Greater Greater Washington followed up on the story today, suggesting that Apple “Just propose a Federal style store already”.

I have recently become a huge fan of Apple so I’m really saddened by this news. I actually think the modern style of Apple’s buildings look pretty fresh. But I also understand Georgetown wanting to maintain the integrity of its historic blocks. But damn I want an Apple store in DC. Hmm, quite a conundrum. Of course I’d love to see an Apple store in Columbia Heights or Penn Quarter but let’s just assume that the Georgetown space is the only one they are willing to consider. So my question to you is – who’s being ridiculous here? Should Apple conform to Georgetown’s architectural requirements or should Georgetown lighten up a bit and realize what a great addition an Apple store would be?

48 Comment

  • For those of us in Columbia Heights and Petworth, there’s no point in stressing over this – the Apple Store that’s already in Pentagon City is far easier to get to by public transit than a Georgetown location would be.

  • I for one would not love to see an Apple store in Columbia Heights… that just seems wrong to me, I don’t know if I can explain why. In Georgetown, Dupont, or U Street seems perfectly reasonable though.

  • No question…G’town is being ridiculous…in the middle of one of the biggest economic downturns the US has seen a major retail company still wants to open a new store and its rejected THREE TIMES??!!! DC is a backward, bureaucratic mess that seems to go out of its way to discourage retail (big or small) from investing here…but I’m sure G’town will look much better with an historically correct empty storefront…

  • Georgetown is right. Retail operations come and go but that building will be there for a long time after Apple leaves it/goes out of business/ends retail operations/etc… I would love to have an Apple store in the city and they should be willing to conform to Georgetown’s architectural style.

  • I can’t decide. I understand Gtown’s point but Apple has had 3 chances and apparently they couldn’t come op with something to Gtown. I have seen some of the other stores Gtown has built (see the DCist post on this) and they can do it. Without seeing the 3 rejected proposals I don’t know if I can make an honest assessment.

    As for Adam’s point – Pentagon City is going to be easier to get to – unless you are are Georgetown or GW student.

  • There’s also the Apple Store on Wilson Blvd, right down the street from the Metro as well.

    Georgetown doesn’t need or want an Apple Store. They’re more than happy peddling overpriced garbage to gullible tourist morons. You know, the kind that go on vacation only to shop at The Gap and eat at Hard Rock Cafe or any other franchise that’s IN THEIR OWN HOME TOWN.

    If you pay $3.2 million for an authentic colonial two bedroom closet in Georgetown, you don’t want stores to disturb your precious authenticity.

  • So how come, we have to pay DC sales tax, when ordering from the Apple web site? Does DC ever see the $$$?

  • If Apple wants to build another ultra modern style store like the one in NYC, then they were ridiculous for picking Georgetown in the first place. It’s a given that a neighborhood like that would enforce a certain architectural style on any new buildings. Happens in any town. Probably would’ve been better to build around Gallery Place.

    Of course, I’ve no idea what Apple’s building designs looked like, so I guess there’s no point in speculating.

  • I voted for Georgetown out of spite. I couldn’t stop myself.

  • I’m a PC, but I think I have to agree with Georgetown here. I mean what are the people at apple thinking?!? Clearly they didn’t research the area very well, then when their first proposal was rejected due to it not fitting in with g’town’s style, they what, stuck their heels and head in the ground and kept turning in more of the same?!? Did they not send someone out to the area? While I would totally agree the storefront pictured above is really cool, does apple really think they need something like that to draw people into their stores? Have they ever been to their own stores before? They are always crowded!!!

    apple, I love your ipods, but wtf?!?

  • Kudos to Georgetown and DC for taking the “long view” here. There are plenty of upscale site options for Apple in DC that would not require the irreversible compromise of the historic character and scale of that area of Georgetown.

  • Gotta side with Georgetown. It needs to keep its personality intact. It was a dumb move for Apple to buy there, and think that they could strong-arm the locals into accepting their ultra-modern look. Lots of parts of DC would welcome that look. I think Penn Quarter would be the way to go.

  • Not to mention Apple products are overpriced and overrated – unless you like cartoonish UI interfaces that “pop up! so cool!”…. iPhone in particular – for christ sakes, pay $2000 (yeah, $2000 on a 2 year superexpensive contract) for a phone that cannot even record video, send MMS or support stereo bluetooth (!!!!).

    **My gadget rant over**

  • I personally want the store.

    I love overpaying for computers which offer the same performance as windows or linux machines which cost half the price.
    In addition, I love the fact that apple is associated with a rebellious and trendy personality and i like to show that i am “different” and dont follow the crowd, especially while i try to look interesting and cerebral while sitting at starbucks pretending to do work and looking pretentious.

    Occasionally i like to point out how apples have superior performance to windows although when asked, I cant seem to identify a single feature that apples posses that is superior to a dell.

    Finally, i completely fail to understand that PC stands for “Personal Computer” which apple is of course so saying i hate prefer apples to pc’s is like saying i like driving toyotas better than driving cars. Of course i wont let this complete misunderstanding of technology stop me from pompously proclaiming my computer’s superiority because i feel the need to justify the huge price i paid for the ability to feel different just like everyone else.

  • G for good: iPhone can send MMS to your hearts content and it’s web interface is the best in the biz.

  • Odentex, I believe you refer to SMS, not MMS. Yes, the browser is good. Does not sufficiently compensate for the other sucky things, IMHO – in particular the camera is a joke for a phone that expensive.

  • Actually, I love Apple and have been a home user for over 15 years. I find Macs to be better than Windows-based machines, but that’s just my humble opinion. Reasonable minds can certainly disagree.
    It’s a bit odd to suggest that Apple users “feel the need to justify the huge price [they] paid for the ability to feel different just like everyone else” given that Macs only make up about 10% of the computer market. If you own a Mac, you are not like everybody else.
    I’m not well versed enough in technology to spout statistics that show how superior Macs are to Windows-based machines, but I do know that a day doesn’t go by without yet another discovery of a security flaw in Windows. Not a lot of reports about Macs getting disabled by viruses.
    An Apple store in DC would be nice but there are three in Virginia, two of which are metro-accessible for anyone in DC. I can see the value of a location near a college and with some foot traffic. Maybe they should look at something near AU or GW.

  • I love my iPhone, I hate G’town, I’m glad to hear I won’t havta go to G’town to service my iphone/apple needs… not big on love/hate relationships; a location in CH or Downtown would be just dandy.

  • I don’t know. I looked at a MAC but couldn’t justify the price. Instead I bought an HP with the options that I wanted for HALF the price. And it works just fine for the things I need it for. Apple would serve their customers better if they lowered prices. Yeah, windows has issues but I don’t really care and they don’t affect me. I don’t have any viruses and I use trend micro.

  • Well, there is a Mac section in the Best Buy.. oh yeah, forgot, their “staff” do not know **** about anything..

  • And I don’t care about sitting in Starbucks and looking busy and contemplative while staring at a screen. Those people are desperately trying to be different but are all the same.

  • Oh, and Apple has a location in Bethesda right near the metro stop. It’s really convenient and it’s in a very nice area.

  • …yes but bethesda is filled with raiders and is way too far from my pad in megaton.

  • I like the Fallout 3 reference…

  • You can’t please everyone, if the folks in Georgetown are that catty about this and that, I ‘d take my business elsewhere.
    There is an abundance of possibilities… Apple could open in Chinatown or Columbia Heights, or that new Park Place or in reawakening Anacostia.
    To one who is approacing 50, life is too short to worry about hassles about overpriced goods at lousy service.
    Apple would be wise to pull up stakes in Georgetown and look into other locations in town.

  • G for Good: No, i mean MMS. Pictures to cell phones. There are several third-party applications that allow you to send them. Also, the iPhone is capable of video (I use a program called dreamcatcher to make .mov files). Most of the “limitations” you speak of are limitations of the 10 or so apps included when you get the phone. However there are approximately 15,000 third party apps as of this month.

    Also, I pay the same amount now for a 2 year AT&T contract that I paid for my 2 year Sprint contract with my prior phone. Any two-year contract is going to run $2000 whether you have an iPhone or the cheapest (free) phone unless you don’t need minutes. I don’t understand your argument there. What smartphone+data plan are you going to get for under $85 per month?

    Basically the only argument you make that is accurate is that you can’t get stereo bluetooth. Perhaps that’s a deal killer for some people, but the extra effort of plugging in a cord to connect the phone to the car or home stereo doesn’t seem to bother me.

    Oh, and you don’t like the GUI. Different strokes, I guess.

    It seems that on both sides there are always people who overlook apple’s product problems (the battery on the first iPhone was a joke, for example) while some people irrationally dislike their products without actually understanding all the functional features of the device. Personally I waited until the 3G iPhone came out and the price was lowered before I bought because there were significant limitations to the first model. Those limitations have, generally, been fixed by Apple’s hardware updates (including a better battery) and the myriad of applications now available for those that want to do everything from shoot video with their phone or turn it into a light saber.

  • Although I fully understand Georgetown’s concerns, I have a hard time siding with that freakin’ neighborhood ever since they changed the parking meters to 10p.m. They reject a metro stop, they only allow one bus to go there, they make sure nobody can park long enough to actually eat at a restaurant…. We get it Georgetown: you want to keep the “rest of us” out. So I’m not sure I believe the architectural integrity argument. Sounds more like Georgetown being Georgetown, with an over-inflated sense of self.

  • Argh. Both Apple and Gtown are being stupid. That said, trying to put a store in Gtown doesn’t seem super smart to me… HOWEVER. An Apple store in D.C., near a Metro, would be awesome since my Mac is effing heavy and I get tired of schlepping it out to the burbs whenever I kill it… which would be frequently. What’s wrong with Dupont or Downtown or CH or U Street, Apple? Gawd. Gtown is such a morass anyway.

  • Odentex, I know there are 3rd party apps for getting basis features that should be there out of the box and are found even in the cheapest of phones nowadays. AFAIK, iPhone data plans start at $30/month vs. $15-20/month for other phones (the 3G iPhone “price cut” ends up actually being a price increase with the new more expensive data plan).

  • Oh and the camera sucks, no matter what 3rd party apps you add. 🙂

  • ColHeightsChic – it seems that based on your description of Georgetown “with an over-inflated sense of self” is the perfect match for the store since this is the exact phrase that describes apple customers.

  • “Macs only make up about 10% of the computer market. If you own a Mac, you are not like everybody else.”

    Ummm… really? You do realize the vast, vast majority of computers are purchased by businesses, not consumers, and far more than 90% of those are PC-compatibles. That means that Mac has a much larger share of the consumer market.

    Even that notwithstanding, 10% of a bajillion is still a gazillion.

    There is nothing unique about owning a Mac or an iPhone. It’s an ubertrend.

  • “Macs only make up about 10% of the computer market. If you own a Mac, you are not like everybody else.”

    which is exactly the only reason there are less viruses for the mac. Its not because macs are superior.
    Its just not worthwhile to waste time writing a virus that will affect such a small contingent of fools.

  • G for Good: How hard is it to download a free app to send MMS onto the phone? And you can find a free app to do just about everything you want.

    Further, you tell me what functional smartphone data+voice plan you can get for less than $85? This “It costs $2000!” argument is more popular on the internet than “Obama is a muslim!” and just as bogus. Any smartphone is gonna cost you $2000 for two years of use — at a minimum. I’m telling you, because I get the bills, it doesn’t cost any more per month than my old BB Pearl (less, actually).

    Also, I personally I don’t buy a phone to get a quality camera and rarely use it. If I want to take a picture I use a quality camera – i.e. not a cell phone. Regardless the 2MP camera on the iPhone 3g is better than any phone camera I’ve ever used, much better than the last three phones I had (2 BB’s and a Moto RAZR). What smartphone do you think has a better camera function? Enquiring minds want to know.

    To me connectivity, usable web and GPS, a functional music & podcast device, and a quality phone are more important anyway.

  • Vonstallin

    Anonymous Says:
    December 31st, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    You hit it right on the head. Everyone have a false sense of security. Too much time and you will get in too much trouble just to infect such a small amount of computers.

    I support Georgetown, and any historic district inside of DC for that matter. Almost all cities are reinventing themselves and although new and fresh looking, I would rather have them come up with a design that fits into G-Towns scheme / look. Just look at a lot of the olde1800’s and 1900’s homes we all are buying up. The have been modernized to incredible levels that retain some sense of heritage of city mixed with the latest modernizations.

    Oh, I use Mac’s and PC’s, but I prefer PC’s, because I’ve built my computers since 1998. If one part goes bad i can just run down to best buy or Elecronics store and pick it up asap with little down time.

    Performance wise I do heavy 3D graphics using bryce 3D, lots of Photoshop work, illustrator, and edit video and create DVD’s using Pinnicale Systems Movie Maker and Adobe Premire. I use these programs on both platforms and can’t see the difference in performance. It do seems like a Mac can get it done with less numbers (processor power), but cost wise PC’s win.

    As far as naming PC’s vs. Mac.

    Normaly you would say that PC’s are Intel Based Machines. That use to be the proper way to distinguise the two Personal Computers, but now Macs are Intel Bases also, so you are forced to use the acronym of PC’s since it don’t official have a name.

    Since Intel based PC’s can run various OS (Linux, Red hat Linux, Windos, etc..) we can’t called it a Windows Box.

  • A Bronx Cheer for Georgetown, also a shame Apple did not want to look at other locations.

  • Odentex, better camera on a smarthphone? 🙂 Just about any Symbian S60 powered phone, such as Nokia 6220, N70 (about 4 years old, still much better), N73, N82 (Xenon flash – amazing in dark environments), heck even N80, N95, N95 8GB, E51, E66, E71, forthcoming N97, Samsung Innov8, even BB Bold (even though its camera is still pretty sucky). There are most likely some WM phones that have much better cameras too, but not really familiar with those too well. E.g. HTC Diamond may have a decent one.

    On the free apps: that’s not the point. The point is that you’d expect BASIC features that are found in the cheapest of phones nowadays to be part of the package in a high end (in cost terms) phone.

    In my opinion, the “$2000 in two years” is not bogus as you are paying as much or more for a phone that has inferior features. The UI is nice, I give you that, but not nice enough to justify the high cost.

  • The whole of Georgetown was designated historic by an act of congress that predates Apple, or even silicon computers. It’ll probably be that way long after they’re gone, too.
    And I’m guessing the people who live there like it that way, and don’t particularly care what non-Georgetowners think about their priorities.

  • Georgetown is absolutely in the right here. You can’t make an exception for Apple just because they’re Apple. Part of Georgetown’s charm is its historic character. Apple can either submit a more traditional design (they have plenty…just look at their SoHo NY location), or open in a different part of the city.

    And this is coming from a self described Apple fanboy.

  • Whoever voted Apple is a f’ing idiot… They foolishly bought in Gtown and now think they can shoehorn their concept into a historic neighborhood by DEMOLISHING a building. I don’t care who you are, you play by the rules.

  • Vonstallin

    Chris Loos Says:
    January 1st, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Good point…
    They followed the tradition of revamping a historic post office for that store.
    Here are pics and a blurp about it.


    The New York City Apple Store in Soho resides in a former US Post Office building formerly called “Station A” in Soho. It’s located in the heart of downtown Manhattan amid multi-million-dollar real estate in the form of lofts, apartments, retail spaces, creative offices and historic cast-iron architecture. Like those lofts that have been converted from former factory space, the Apple Store is an excellent example of the re-development and re-purposing of existing structure as new, mixed-use space.

  • GforGood: This is a discussion about a possible Apple retail store in Georgetwn and you can’t resist ranting about “overpriced” and “overrated” products, and “cartoonish UI interfaces”?

    Yawn. Wrong effin’ place for that tired crap. Aren’t there about 10,000 forums and blogs for that rant?

    Just STFU!

    I am a Mac guy, but for the record I support the Georgetown community on this. Fit in, Apple, or just go elsewhere in DC. There are certainly multiple locations in DC that are “hip” enough for you. I mean, come on, you’re in PENTAGON CITY, for cryin’ out loud.

  • I hope compromise between Apple and Georgetown can be raised, possibly along the C&O Canal in the warehouses there or along the harbor.

  • “conforming to georgetown’s architectural style”? georgetown already includes design from every era and can include something that looks like it was designed in 2009 and not 1809. does the lower wisconsin avenue mash of liquor stores, tacky suit shops, knock off purse dealers need to be so pristinely protected? georgetown is a beautiful historic neighborhood, but wisconsin ave is a retail strip and there should be some allowance for contemporary, fresh, quality design. apple’s image isn’t one of stodgy old design and certainly not faux historicism. speaking as someone with a degree in architectural history, washington dc needs to allow more contemporary design to develop peacefully alongside the historic. this is a living city and not a museum.

  • PoP, sorry to have offended you. Thought we were free to say whatever (judging from other posts it certainly seems so many times). I guess I will just STFU from now on.

  • I meant Prince Buster of course (sorry, PoP! 🙂 It’s too early… need cofffeee).

  • Prince Of Petworth

    GforGood of course you are free to say whatever!

  • A workable compromise is good between Apple and Georgetown, as in other disagreements, I think if Apple would look at other locations in Georgetown like possibly those industrial buildings along the water or the canal. maybe to apease the view that everything has to be correct, common in Georgetown and elsewhere due to legitimate preservation concerns.
    I may have overlooked something regarding Georgetown as a community, I hope with compromise, a win win for all sides is possible, in being good neighbors with Gtown and Apple Corp.

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