Apple Plans to Convert D.C.’s Carnegie Library Into New Store?
Steve Jobs minted Apple as a top American retailer by designing crisp, modern stores with designs reminiscent of the company’s products. Glass boxes and aluminum panels abounded.
But as Apple moves to turn its stores into experiences — places for concerts, art exhibitions and photography classes — the tech giant has begun to pursue distinctive, yet familiar, buildings its customers might admire as well.
In the District, the company has set its sights squarely on the Carnegie Library in Mount Vernon Square. One of thousands of libraries built nationwide with funds donated by steel tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, it opened in 1903 as the first desegregated public building in the city.
Apple officials say they plan to restore the building to its original grandeur and outfit Carnegie as a place to hold a slate of free, open-to-the-public concerts, art exhibitions, workshops for teachers and coding classes for children.
In New York, Apple picked up a historic preservation award for its work restoring the sort of buildings that, in Jobs’s era, it would not have considered. Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s current senior vice president for retail, considers it essential to the company’s future that it be more than a place to buy things.
“Starbucks figured it out, for being a gathering place, right? ‘Meet me at Starbucks,’ Ahrendts told “CBS This Morning” in a recent interview. “I’ve told my teams, I’ll know we’ve done a great job if the next generation, of Gen Z, says, ‘Meet me at Apple.’”
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