Apple Gives First Look at New Storefront on Chicago River

The store, as laid out in a proposal to be presented to the Chicago Plan Commission, will replace the current food court at Pioneer Court Plaza along the Chicago River in front at 401 N. Michigan Ave.

Apple on Wednesday released its first sneak peek at what its highly-anticipated new Michigan Avenue store will look like along Chicago’s riverwalk.

The store, as laid out in a proposal to be presented to the Chicago Plan Commission, will be built on Pioneer Court Plaza beginning in early 2016 and replace the food court at 401 N. Michigan Ave.

The retail store will take up approximately 20,000 square feet inside the former food court, with a 6,500-square-foot sales area. Shoppers will enter the store from the plaza level, depicted by new renderings as a tall, sleek glass enclosure with a grand modern staircase to match.

“The glass enclosure will maintain an exceptional transparency and structural integrity, resulting in a façade which will blur the line between interior and exterior space,” the report, submitted by Zeller Realty Group, reads.

At the upper Michigan Avenue level, “an ultra-thin carbon-fiber reinforced roof structure without rooftop utilities” overhangs the glass structure, according to the report.

Materials scheduled for use have been designed to utilize solar shading to reduce cooling loads during the summer, the plan says, and heating loads in the winter.

The entire structure was designed in a way to provide nearly unobstructed views of the Chicago River.

Zeller Realty Group, owner of the building at 401 N. Michigan Avenue, is scheduled to present the proposal to the Chicago Plan Commission Thursday. The proposal already received site plan approval Monday, according to the Peter Strazzabosco, deputy commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development.

Apple’s spokesman Nick Leahy confirmed the news Wednesday:

"Our store on North Michigan Avenue has welcomed more than 23 million customers since it opened in 2003 and we're now creating something even more remarkable for Chicago,” Leahy said.

“We have been working closely with Alderman Brendan Reilly, Foster + Partners, and the Mayor's office on an incredible new retail experience including a community space connecting the Pioneer Court plaza and Riverwalk in a way it never has," he continued. "We cannot wait to begin work in early 2016.”

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