Spending $400 million on a makeover is something only an established store with a worldwide brand should attempt — but is it worth it if you’re just turning it into yet another Apple-esque space? Macy’s is the next to go for the shiny, sleek and super-white Apple look at its famous flagship store in New York City, but some traditionalists say in this case, change isn’t good.
Preservationists say Macy’s doesn’t need to change its classic Beaux Arts and Art Deco feel just to cater to today’s popular store styles — because if there’s a trendy store on the block to visit, everyone’s gonna say Apple.
“Macy’s has Apple fever,” a New York preservation activist told the Associated Press. “Everyone is jealous of Apple, and thinks the secret to the company’s success is this beautiful, elegant minimalist design vocabulary they have. But this is about protection of our heritage.”
The overhaul of the store will be finished in 2015, with an added 100,000 square feet for a total of 1.2 million square feet of retail space. The women’s shoe section is already completed, boasting 280,000 pairs of shoes in a pristine white setting.
Macy’s says it will be a “spectacular place to shop at an iconic New York City destination.” Every year around 20 million shoppers traipse through the store’s nine floors that sit on almost an entire city block in Manhattan. Built in 1902 in the Beaux Arts style, when it added on sections in the 1930s they were done with Art Deco details.
That’s the Macy’s we all know and love, the one critics say will be lost with this Appleification.
“I was stunned they were doing this, making it look like everywhere else in America when they have a little treasure here,” said a preservationist for the Architecture of the City. The store doesn’t have a landmark designation, which means it can be changed.
As other stores have done, Macy’s denies that it’s trying to be like Apple, and that that judgment can’t be levied yet as the store is a work in progress. In fact, the store says it’s going to be reviving its classic features.
“Macy’s asked us to bring back the grandeur of the original store, and whenever there’s true historic fabric, to restore it,” said the chief architect in charge of the renovation.
If there’s a way to change the store so that I don’t get heart palpitations by having to deal with the constant crowds shoving into elevators and bumping into me every two seconds, I’m all in favor.