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Grand Central retail store lease is signed, could be approved next week

The possibility of an Apple retail store gracing New York's busy Grand Central Terminal has been rumored, reported and bandied about for months now; in February, it looked like a deal was in motion, but in March reports suggested the plan had run off the rails.

Now it's close to being reality, again. Today the New York Post reports that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (which manages GCT) and Apple have signed a 10-year lease worth US$8 million to put the world's largest Apple retail outlet on the terminal's north and northeast balconies, looking down at the iconic clock in the central waiting area. The 23,000 ft2 (2137 m2) site is currently occupied by the Metrazur restaurant. With approval by the MTA's finance committee and full board expected later this week, the deal looks to be locked in.

[As pointed out by Apple 2.0, the store will actually be slightly smaller than two of the UK Apple Stores.]

A train station might seem to be an odd location for a high-end retail outlet like an Apple store, but Grand Central is not exactly an ordinary railway terminal. As the commuter hub for New York City's affluent northern suburbs, it hosts hundreds of thousands of passengers and visitors every day and features a wide array of shops and restaurants.

Considering that almost every Apple product can be wrangled onto a train pretty easily -- except a Mac Pro, larger iMacs and possibly the two 27" displays -- the new store could see tremendous business during the afternoon rush. It could also take some of the customer load off of the 5th Avenue store, which is now as much a tourist hot zone as it is an actual retail operation.

If this store does get built out, it will be the city's sixth; Manhattan already features four Apple stores (W14, Lincoln Center, 5th Ave and Soho) and Staten Island has one. Brooklyn's borough president made a play for a store last year, and there are rumors that Apple's retail team is looking at space in the upcoming Atlantic Yards arena/retail center.

[hat tip MacStories]

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