Metropolitan Transportation Authority Stories July 30, 2012

New York State audit reveals that MTA gave Apple unfair advantage in Grand Central Store bidding

New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s latest audit suggested the Metropolitan Transportation Authority gave Apple an unfair advantage last year when the company bid for a spot in Grand Central Terminal.

According to The New York Post:

  • A fresh audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the MTA last May allowed the California-based tech giant to set a daunting hurdle for rival bidders to clear in a tight, 30-day window — namely, that they be willing to front $5 million in cash.
  • “The competitive process followed by MTA . . . was at a minimum severely slanted toward Apple,” reads the report, submitted to MTA officials Friday and expected to be made public today.
  • DiNapoli’s report notes that Apple had been in private talks with the MTA for more than two years leading up to the bidding process.
  • In a saucy move that was rejected by the MTA, Apple even tried to get reimbursed by taxpayers for the initial $2 million it had paid the restaurant Metrazur to vacate the balcony atop the historic commuter hub, the report found — a deal that ultimately was worth $5 million.

MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota told The New York Post that DiNapoli’s report is overtly “bias against the MTA and Apple,” and he said the audit is “not fact-based, and, accordingly, their opinion is worthless.”

“The MTA’s lease process with Apple was open, transparent and followed both the spirit and letter of the law,” Lhota contended.

Apple opened its doors in Grand Central’s last winter and pays $1.1 million in rent for 2012, which the audit noted is below market, and the company notably does not share a percentage of its sales with the MTA. It is the only retailer at the station with such a deal.

On the plus side, there is an awesome Apple Store with free Wi-Fi in Grand Central Station!

[The full audit does not appear to be online as of press time.]

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Stories December 10, 2011

There isn’t much here that you didn’t see yesterday but it is satisfying to see the MTA’s pride in the accomplishment, which may also be in response to concerns that Apple got a ‘sweetheart deal‘.

Update: Apple posted some choice shots to their gallery as well (below) expand full story

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Stories November 22, 2011

It appears that Apple isn’t satisfied with the progress on the Grand Central Apple Store and is postponing the opening at least a week perhaps more.  Clearly, Apple would have preferred to have another huge venue open for Black Friday but we’ve been told by a GC Apple employee today that they’ve been told to continue working at other New York Area Apple Stores during Black Friday weekend.

Last weekend, a group of employees was told that the opening announcement was scheduled for today and Apple was going to try to open for Black Friday.

On the other hand, it is good to have an abundance of Apple Store workers on hand at the other NYC Apple Stores for the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

We’re sorry we got your hopes up and we’re still hoping to see the store open next week.

Update: Mashable spoke to a construction worker who has said as much.

expand full story

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Stories November 20, 2011

Update: We’ve been told there has been a delay.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We reported on the construction progress of the future Apple grand Central store earlier this month and have since received further information and pictures from our  trip to the location and from the tech blog, Techfootnote. Both sources grabbed shots of the upcoming Grand Central Apple Store as it was actively being worked on Friday, November 18th.  There were dozens of construction workers and corporate reps putting the final touches on the future store.  In the images you can see what looks to be several large hanging boards.  The boards are hung on large hooks, which would make it easy to pull off and reveal what is behind the boards.

9to5Mac has heard that Apple will officially announce the opening of the Grand Central Apple store this Tuesday and presumably pull the black boards to reveal the announcement.  This store garners extra special attention because it will be Apple’s largest in the world by square footage and resides in a building where 750,000 people pass daily and over 1,000,000 people during the holidays.  Check out our previously posted spyshots of the location for a sneak peak of the store.

The Grand Central Apple Store will have little over 300 employees, which are currently training in other local NY Apple stores.  All Apple retail employees will be attending a holiday-focused (policies / loss prevention) meeting tonight.

From what we have now heard, Apple will be filling the store with stock and applying the finishing touches this week putting the  the actual opening of the store on Black Friday or shortly thereafter.  The goal all along has been to get the store open for the holiday shopping and to make a big splash with Apple’s new crown jewel of retail.

Wall of Monitors spied between pillars, right, Video of the store space below (more here):

expand full story

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Stories July 25, 2011

As a Grand Central commuter into New York City, this whole Apple Store thing has been surreal.  The WSJ posts some renderings of what the store would look like and frankly, it is amazing.  The Store is so big and open that Apple will become part of Grand Central.

Think delicious free Apple Wifi for instance.

New details emerged today.  Should the Board approve Apple’s bid on Wednesday, Apple will begin construction immediately and it is estimated to only take 4 months to build out the new Store?!  So, theoretically it is open for the holidays.

Also, more information on the ouster:

Apple is paying Charlie Palmer’s Metrazur restaurant $5 million to vacate its space on the terminal’s east balcony more than eight years before its lease expires. The MTA will get significantly higher annual rent: $1.1 million from Apple vs. $263,997 from Metrazur.

In addition to the space currently occupied by Metrazur, Apple will move into an adjacent, currently vacant balcony on the northeast side of the terminal.

If that weren’t enough (and it is) the MTA announced that there was a Shake Shack going into Grand Central as well.

And if that weren’t enough, at today’s announcement the MTA piled it on the lowly Penn Station commuters like Dr. Macenstein: expand full story

Powered by WordPress.com VIP