The saga of the proposed Federation Square Apple store has come to a close.
Heritage Victoria has rejected plans for the Apple Global Flagship Store that would have required the demolition of the Yarra building on the square’s southern border.
The state government and Apple have both acknowledged that the plans for the store can not proceed.
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In its notice of refusal to grant a permit, Heritage Victoria determined the demolition of the Yarra building would have “an unacceptable and irreversible detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of Federation square.” The Apple store would be a standalone design, “visually dominant in relation to existing buildings” and detracting from their design. It would also encroach into the public square and “diminish the experience of enclosure within the public square”.
Heritage Victoria said it would be extremely unusual to approve the demolition of a heritage building, and in previous cases permission had usually only been granted due to issues relating to a building’s “contamination or structural integrity”.
The potential negative impacts of the proposed store, it was found, were not outweighed by its economic benefits.
Heritage Victoria accepted a nomination to have Federation Square heritage listed in August last year.
The Apple Global Flagship Store was first proposed in December 2017. The proposal was met with immediate public backlash, and an online joke petition called for a Bunnings to be installed in its place. The store’s first design was likened to a Pizza Hut and new designs were presented in July last year. In February this year, a crowdfunding campaign was launched to buy Federation Square for $40 million, but only raised $217,317.