Thursday, December 8, 2016

Apple Slated for Carnegie Library Space


The Washington Business Journal is reporting that Events DC has reached a tentative deal that would allow Apple to lease the Carnegie Library for use as a retail store.

Just months after being closed (and temporarily putting out the Historical Society of DC) due to a persistent mold issue, the Carnegie Library is now set to confirm a new use for the space: leasing to a retail store for Apple. This is in stark contrast to the more public, educational nature of the entities that have inhabited the space in the past, including the Historical Society (current), a museum of DC history, the University of the District of Columbia, and the main library for the District. The Carnegie Library building functioned as a library for the better part of 70 years before the construction of the new central DC library at 9th and G NW.

Apple is the largest tech company in the world and typically uses its retail stores as sort of "living commercials," showcasing (and yes, selling) its current line up of devices which include laptop & desktop computers, phones, tablets, and smart watches. The stores typically have a very different set up than traditional brick & mortar electronics stores.

I really thought that Apple would end up at City Center, a seemingly natural fit for the company and the real estate development. Apple is always pressed to present a very particular, highly curated image of its brand; and City Center, tends to collect only what it considers the top world brands for its retail spaces (Tesla, Burberry, Hermes, Momofuku, etc.). Alas, Apple will get to run its own show and still maintain proximity to City Center (one block away), the under-construction Conrad Hotel, and the tens of thousands of people entering and exiting the Walter E. Washington Convention Center just across the street.

The deal to bring Apple to the Carnegie Library is still tentative and details will be worked out in the the next few weeks. As for the mold problem, I suppose it's fixed now? I would have wanted to hear the news that the mold problem was conquered first, that the Historical Society of Washington DC had moved back in, and more clarity on how the Historical Society will coexist with a retail store in the same building. Hopefully those questions will be answered as the process unfolds.

The Carnegie Library is located on Mount Vernon Square at 801 K St NW.

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