Apple is in talks to open a new flagship shop on Birmingham’s New Street next to the £650m revamped New Street Station.
The move would see the technology giant vacate its 4,000 sq ft store at the Bullring, where it can exercise a break clause next year, and upsize into the circa 20,000 sq ft former banking hall at 128 New Street, owned by Horton Estate.
The new location would bring Apple closer to the 500,000 sq ft Grand Central mall in New Street Station, which is due to open in September and is anchored by a 250,000 sq ft John Lewis.
Horton chief executive Tony Green said: “128 New Street is an iconic Grade II listed building in the central shopping district. We receive regular interest regarding its availability. I confirm that Apple is among those who have recently made enquiries.”
Current occupier Waterstones is in talks to surrender its lease, which expires in 2018. It pays a passing rent of £880,000 pa.
The book retailer has another store in Birmingham, at the entrance to the Pavilions shopping centre, which would become its only shop in the city.
A source said: “Waterstones would have preferred to keep the New Street store, but the rent is prohibitive. It does not need two outlets in Birmingham.”
After a major refit of the six-storey 128 New Street, Apple is likely to pay a reduced rent of around £650,000-£700,000 pa. Horton may be willing to accept this owing to the strength of the covenant and any additional payment it will gain from Waterstones as a result of the lease surrender.
A source said: “Apple likes to have the best property in each of the key centres. With the neighbouring revamped station and new John Lewis store opening in September, this is a massive draw to this end of New Street.”
Wright Silverwood is advising Horton Estate; Cushman & Wakefield acts for Apple.