Apple's Federation Square Store Plan Killed Off
Heritage Victoria has rejected an application to knock down part of Melbourne's Federation Square to build a new Apple flagship store.
Tech giant Apple's plans for a base at Melbourne's Federation Square are dead after a heritage authority rejected demolition plans to make way for the flagship store.
The Labor state government announced in 2017 Apple's intention to establish its only flagship store in the southern hemisphere.
But the plans were met by a groundswell of resistance over whether Federation Square was the appropriate place for the proposed glass behemoth of a building. There was also an application for the square to be heritage listed.
Heritage Victoria on Friday published its rejection of the application, saying the demolition and new building would result in an "unacceptable and irreversible detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of Federation Square".
This would be because the new building would be visually dominant, detracting from the "design language" of the square and the negative impacts of the proposal are not outweighed by the benefits, including the economic benefits, Heritage Victoria said.
"While we are disappointed we're no longer able to pursue our plan for Federation Square, we remain committed to serving our customers in Melbourne and across Australia," Apple said in a statement.
The state government has enlisted government architect Jill Garner and former managing partner of Ernst and Young Tim Eddy to review how Federation Square looks, is funded and operates.
"Since its opening in 2002, Federation Square has hosted creative events and world leading attractions," Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said.
"The review will ensure this much-loved space can thrive as a civic, cultural and commercial hub for years to come."
The square was referred to Heritage Victoria for protection after it was announced the government wanted the Apple store to go ahead.
An interim protection order was put in place in December until the end of August, allowing for Heritage Victoria to consider the development proposal.
A final decision is expected in mid-2019.
The National Trust, which is championing the heritage listing, has celebrated the Apple development rejection.
"We do not oppose commercial activation and development at Federation Square which respects its cultural and architectural significance, however the proposal fell far short of meeting these aims," National Trust Victoria chief executive Simon Ambrose said in a statement.