Thursday, December 08, 2011

Apple's new Grand Central Terminal store opens Dec. 9, serves commuters as early as 7 a.m.

Apple has confirmed what had been rumored, that its new Grand Central Terminal store will open on Friday, Dec. 9, 2011. The store will have earlier hours than most, opening at 7 a.m. daily to service commuters.

The mew store will be called the Apple Store Grand Central. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This Friday, though, it will open at a more typical 10 a.m., for the official grand opening.

The new Apple Store Grand Central is spacious, at 23,000 square feet. Given that size, it's one of Apple's largest retail outlets. This gives Apple five New York City locations, with Fifth Avenue, Upper West Side, SoHo, West 14th Street and now Grand Central.

Apple is making sure Apple Store Grand Central is fully up to snuff. It will support Personal Pickup, the feature of the free Apple Store App which allows iPhone users to shop and buy, then pick up their purchase once they reach the store.

Customers using the Apple Store App can also use the new EasyPay function to scan and pay for accessories on the store floor.

Apple will also offer new 15-minute Express Workshops with tips and tricks in a streamlined format to serve customers with only a short time until their train arrives. And yes, the store has not one, but TWO Genius Bars.

Apple signed a 10-year lease with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) but drove a hard bargain in doing so. While it had to pay $5 million to get the prior tenant, the Metrazur restaurant, to exit early, unlike other Grand Central Terminal tenants, Apple will not have to share revenue with the MTA.

In addition, Apple pays slightly less than other tenants, at $180 per square foot. The MTA has said that cost reflects the $5 million payment made to Metrazur, as well as Apple’s $2.5 million capital investment in the retail space and the $1.1 million annual rate. It's unclear if the MTA would give any other retailer such a deal, though.

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