City officials began construction Tuesday on the highly-anticipated new Apple store along Chicago’s downtown Riverwalk.
The massive 401 N. Michigan Ave. storefront will replace the current Pioneer Court Plaza food with a 20,000-square-foot retail store and 6,500-square-foot sales area.
Shoppers will enter the store from the plaza level through a tall, sleek glass enclosure and grand modern staircase that aims to "blur the line between interior and exterior space," according to renderings released by Zeller Realty Group in November.
At the upper Michigan Avenue level, “an ultra-thin carbon-fiber reinforced roof structure without rooftop utilities” overhangs the glass structure, according to the developer's 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.
"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,” Apple’s spokesman Nick Leahy said of the new construction. “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.”