Apple’s latest Australian retail outlet opens this week. The store, located in the 10-storey sandstone MacArthur Chambers building in Brisbane’s CBD, joins two others in the region – Chermside in the northern suburbs and Carindale in the south-east.
And trust Apple to pick a site with some significant US history. Built between 1931 and 1934, it was originally used as the headquarters for the Australian Mutual Provident Society, but in July 1942, US General Douglas MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in the Pacific, used it as his base when conducting World War II’s Pacific campaign. Hence the name change.
There is even a permanent memorial to MacArthur, with his office open to the public three times a week.
Apple has apparently made some minor changes during its three-level restoration, with the building plans showing additional windows and a new stairway.
Most recently, a Dymocks bookstore occupied the space, which could lead to a musing on the passing of the baton from ‘flesh and blood’, tangible books to all-things-digital. Though it should be noted that Dymocks has not gone out of business, but merely moved to new premises in Albert Street.
Ahead of the opening, leaked photographs have started appearing on various websites. Reckoner – which also notes, “the classic Heritage look with a beautifully clean interior, detailed finishes… and a plethora of wrought-iron chandeliers” – has a number of them, including this one below:
Meanwhile, a reader of MacRumors, identified only as Phillip, took the opportunity to snap a couple more when he was walking past, explaining in a post, “I was just going to Woolies downstairs and I spotted that the blinds were gone and stuck my phone against the glass and grabbed these shots.”
You can view all of Phillip’s MacRumors shots here.
The changes to the building appear to be in keeping with Apple’s originally plans (above) that were submitted to Brisbane Council in April 2012.
It will open at 10am on Friday 17 January and close that evening at 9pm, with workshop reservations and appointments for the Genius Bar already being taken on the website.