Apple (finally) coming to Philly

PHILADELPHIA. After years of rumors and wishful thinking, fans of Apple products will soon get one of the trademark, futuristic all-glass exterior shops in Center City.

Design plans for a new store near 16th and Walnut streets go before the city Art Commission tomorrow. Apple has already posted job listings on its Web site for the store, but a spokeswoman said yesterday that an official announcement about a new store here isn’t ready yet.

Adding an Apple Store to 1607 Walnut St. will add a dose of visual appeal — and a level of hipness from the tens of thousands of iPhone and Mac users — to a block that’s been hit by a bit of a retail slowdown.

“For what that building is now, what you see at this moment, is a series of three or four rehab jobs over the last 40 years,” Art Commission executive director William Burke said yesterday. “They’re going to clean all that off and purify the design. It’s a nice building that contributes to the character of the street.”

Planning officials said the store likely won’t need any zoning change, so once it receives approval from the Art Commission, construction permits from Licenses and Inspections would be the last step before construction.

“I haven’t seen the plans for Philly yet but whatever they are, I hope it’ll be equally elegant and exciting visually as some others, like the Fifth Avenue location in New York,” Planning Commission deputy director Gary Jastrzab said.

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