January 28, 2013

Apple Has Reportedly Set Their Sights On This Castro Street Site

400 Castro Street

The word on the street is a 50% jump in rent was to blame for effectively chasing Diesel from their 400 Castro Street location at the corner of Market. And if a plugged-in tipster is correct, Apple has their sights set on the space with plans to develop the old Bank of America building into an iconic Apple Store which would be the fourth in San Francisco.

As Apple hasn’t commented, we'll have to consider it a rumor for now.

UPDATE (1/30): Apple Rumor Busted But In Part Confirmed As Well.

First Published: January 28, 2013 2:00 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Given Apple's current financial woes moving in could be a blessing or a curse.

Posted by: Mark at January 28, 2013 2:16 PM

since when does 137 billion in cash and cash equivalents equal financial woes? i wish i had problems like that. it main be as white hot as it was a year or so ago, but it's not going anywhere, anytime soon

Posted by: oscar at January 28, 2013 2:26 PM

ha! agree oscar

Posted by: DanRH at January 28, 2013 2:38 PM

I think what Mark was referring to was the fact that Apple’s stock price is down 23% over the last six months, but as oscar points out, Apple doesn't have any "financial woes"; they could pay the salaries of everybody who works for the company for the next several years just out of the amount they have in cash with no new revenues coming in.

Last time I looked at their 10-Q filing, during the summer of last year, $81.4 billion of their cash pile was NOT held in foreign countries.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at January 28, 2013 2:51 PM

With so many AAPLers in the area, they should convert the former BofA to an iconic satellite office and ditch a bus route.

Posted by: tjg at January 28, 2013 3:00 PM

something nice in the Castro? you're kidding...

Posted by: Joshua at January 28, 2013 3:57 PM

Since no one in the Castro can fit into Diesel Jeans, and everyone owns an Iphone, this would seem to be a good move.

Posted by: curmudgeon at January 28, 2013 4:01 PM

I really hope they revive the old rainbow-colored Apple logo for this facade...

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 28, 2013 4:01 PM

I don't get why Apple needs so many stores in SF. I visit clothing stores 3-4 times a year, but an electronics store perhaps once every 5 years. And I buy clothes for largely utilitarian reasons!

The Apple fan club must require minimum quarterly purchases or something.

Posted by: djt at January 28, 2013 4:10 PM

Yuck. I own no Apple products and never will. Steve Jobs and his obsession with secrecy just turns me off.

Posted by: futurist at January 28, 2013 4:13 PM

Oh, geez. Can't someone be somewhat tongue in cheek without using quotation marks?

Let's see what goes in, be it Apple or another national chain.

Posted by: Mark at January 28, 2013 4:17 PM

"I really hope they revive the old rainbow-colored Apple logo..."

Holy retro trademarks Batman! That's a great idea.

And anyone who things Apple is secretive (they are) wait until you deal with Intel. They make the NSA look like like gossips.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at January 28, 2013 4:20 PM

I thought Castro was anti-chain. I hope this doesn't happen.

Posted by: Michael at January 28, 2013 4:31 PM

As the Diesel store is formula retail already, Apple or any other 'Chain store' will have an easier time moving in. The owner of this building must be extremely greedy as they have jacked up the rents on multiple businesses. Anyone recall the Noah's Bagel's that used to be on the lower floor?

Posted by: Rick at January 28, 2013 4:59 PM

Not at all like the Guggenheim Museum - North Beach that Peskin shot down because it was another chain.

Posted by: redseca2 at January 28, 2013 5:23 PM

Many neighborhoods in the city claim to be "anti-chain," but just take a look around, the obvious chains (Starbucks) aside. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but when rents are sky high and the chains are having a tough time making it you might as well forget about the independents.

Posted by: Mark at January 28, 2013 7:24 PM

Is the Castro really enough of a destination shopping location to support an Apple store? Perhaps if the pottery barn across the street stays in business.

Posted by: frshmn at January 28, 2013 8:13 PM

My thoughts... There are a few "don't put another chain-store here!" posts, but no suggestions what would work in this place. That annoys me. Don't complain about it unless you have a better idea what would be successful in this location. High-end retail is out... Not a good location for a high-end restaurant... A club/bar? That's a quick way to lose your shirt.


Who owns the property? Is it that same dude that owns everything else that he keeps intentionally vacant? Long time landlords don't have to rent out these properties because their tax base is so low. An acquaintance of mine had a small business on Divis for years until the landlord decided to double his rent... He shut down and moved to Marin. The shop has now been vacant for over two years. I'd rather an Apple store than nothing...

Posted by: Denis at January 28, 2013 8:26 PM

Although I'm a big fan of Apple products, I hope it doesn't become an Apple store. I don't think the added foot traffic for it would add to the neighborhood as a whole. I'd rather see an Apple store displace the bizarrely located Pottery Barn.

What I'd love to see there is a cafe with lots of outdoor seating. That's something the 'hood sorely needs. That corner near the MUNI entrance would become the best people watching spot in the Castro.

Posted by: Trivetti at January 28, 2013 9:58 PM

Denis wrote:

Long time landlords don't have to rent out these properties because their tax base is so low. An acquaintance of mine had a small business on Divis for years until the landlord decided to double his rent…He shut down and moved to Marin. The shop has now been vacant for over two years.

Yet another compelling argument for stripping the benefits of Prop. 13 from commercial properties and only applying it to residential ones.

If we had a creative board of supervisors, they'd figure out some way to combat this phenomenon. If I were on the Board, I'd take advantage of the Kelo v. City of New London world we're in and draft legislation that would enable the City Administrator’s Office to seize properties that were sitting vacant for a long period due to landlord rapacity and re-sell them to landlords who would rent them out, under stepped-up tax basis/assessment terms.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at January 28, 2013 10:00 PM

I don't really get it: at least with residential properties, I can see why landlords would leave them empty if they had other plans or thought rents would rise, since they wouldn't be able to back out later. But commercial? Surely some rent is better than no rent, regardless of the tax. Are they too rich and lazy to care?

Posted by: Alai at January 28, 2013 10:28 PM

I am curious if the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association will be opposed to a possible Apple store in this location since they have adopted new guidelines opposing "formula retail" in the castro area.

Posted by: sjg at January 28, 2013 10:38 PM

Apple is not stupid. Every Apple store I have been in (and that's a few) has been full and lively from day 1. They know their customers and they understand their foot traffic. This is not a "chain" store in the usual sense of the word. Be calm, all will be well.

Posted by: Oceangoer at January 28, 2013 10:49 PM

If people are opposed to an increase in foot traffic, maybe a Microsoft store would be a better idea.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 29, 2013 7:39 AM

The original Apple logo was not the ROYGBIV rainbow, so it would not make sense to use it here.

Posted by: sf at January 29, 2013 7:47 AM

LOL @ formidable doer

Posted by: OP at January 29, 2013 9:13 AM

I'd like to see a Trader Joe's there.

Posted by: 94114 at January 29, 2013 9:16 AM

"But commercial? Surely some rent is better than no rent..."

I think that the main issue is that commercial leases are usually long term: 10-20 years. So it could be worthwhile for the landlord to wait for a tenant willing to pay a premium for rent.

------------------------

"The original Apple logo was not the ROYGBIV rainbow, so it would not make sense to use it here."

I think that would only matter to the most persnickety of people. The old logo is what it is and the similarity to the rainbow won't be lost on most people.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at January 29, 2013 9:17 AM

Too small for Trader Joes, and impossible to load in. Not to mention it has no parking, which I'm certain is a pre-condition for Trader Joes.

Re: ownership. It used to be owned by Lurie. I don't know if that's still the case. But it's not owned by "same dude that owns everything else". That's Les Natali. He owns at least two successful bars (Badlands and Toad Hall), and keeps the old Patio Cafe and an adjacent retail space vacant. I assume not ONLY because of Prop 13, but also because he has cash flow from the bars. It's a free country, but it is a ridiculous situation. Is it going on 20 years that the Patio has been vacant?

Posted by: curmudgeon at January 29, 2013 9:23 AM

I don't understand the negativity about this. An Apple store would be the best thing in the world for that corner. It would anchor some more nice stores and upgrade the general look of the street. If other city plans move ahead, the streetscape is going to be improved with trees, as well. Castro could become an attractive destination for shopping, restaurants, and bars, not just a site for tourists to gawk at all the gay people.

Posted by: jlasf at January 29, 2013 9:24 AM

This could be a great thing for the Castro. Some may say it's too "commercial" for the area, but to each their own. An Apple store would be a fantastic anchor, plus Apple has been known to put money into the surrounding area (ie: Lincoln Park store in Chicago). Maybe the Castro Business district could talk Apple into giving some money to the Castro Redevelopment plans. This could be a huge way to make Castro St. more pleasurable on the eye.

Posted by: Duste at January 29, 2013 10:00 AM

I was kidding about the Trader Joe's. They had a perfectly acceptable spot on Market Street a couple of years back but the NIMBYs rejected it. Of course, this would be a less practical spot. Still, as someone who lives in the neighborhood, it would be nice to have some services for actual residents of the area.

Posted by: 94114 at January 29, 2013 10:09 AM

I'm losing count of the vacant commercial space in the neighborhood formerly called Castro. It's 8 or 9, and more of a dozen if you go up Market St. a block. Hope somebody buys the 200+ condos going up in the same area.

Posted by: Skeeter at January 29, 2013 10:20 AM

I'm a fan of anything here that will pull in more walking / shopping traffic, as it would help the other businesses too. The Apple store sounds like a good one. Hope it happens.

Posted by: DanRH at January 29, 2013 10:53 AM

Bring it on. The street is already scheduled to be more pedestrian-friendly and this will greatly help. Of course this corner would be the perfect place for a lavish sidewalk Cafe/Brasserie and rooftop seating. But this the Parisian in me talking.

Posted by: lol at January 29, 2013 11:01 AM

iNaked or inude?

Posted by: 18th street dweller at January 29, 2013 11:41 AM

I think it's the perfect location for an Apple Store.

If you haven't yet seen Apple's flagship store in Amsterdam, check it out. I bet they could really make this building beautiful.

Posted by: 1965 at January 29, 2013 12:43 PM

I assure you that Apple has gobs of data on where their products are being shipped to. If they have selected this location, it's because there are a lot of products being shipped near by. It's just smart business practice to understand your customers and try to meet their needs (and wants) including location and access.

Posted by: Sang at January 29, 2013 3:10 PM

Castro Biscuit has an update on the story.

Apparently, their source spoke with someone from the leasing company of the location, Apple is not interested in the space because it is too small.

Looks like another empty building in the Castro. Sad, it's such a pretty building.

Posted by: Duste at January 29, 2013 9:50 PM

Posted by: SocketSite at January 30, 2013 10:36 AM

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