Apple opened its biggest retail location and its fifth in New York City on Friday. The Grand Central store opened to what was quite possibly one of the biggest crowds seen at any US Apple Retail location.
Even before the construction of the popular location, on the East Balcony of Grand Central Terminal was over, controversy over rent has been brewing with not only the Metropolitan Transit Authority, but the state of New York as well. The East Balcony, previously occupied by popular restaurant Metrazur, is now being claimed by Apple for a low annual rent of only $800,000 for the first year.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has launched an investigation into how Apple struck the deal with the MTA, arguing that Apple is paying far less than what other tenants have paid in the past. Apple has mentioned that it is attracting more customers to what is already a prime retail location of popular stores and restaurants, and MTA has supported this claim by suggesting to DiNapoli’s investigating that Apple was the only company to respond to their request for a tenant to fill that location.
Apple also will not be sharing any of its sales revenue with the MTA, unlike some other storefronts in the station. The State investigation of Apple’s rent has attracted media attention and is slowly gaining traction with law officials and city leaders. Although, it is causing quite a stir, it is unlikely that with Apple’s track record of handling situation, they will give in to paying any more than they are now.
Apple is currently bankrolling infrastructure upgrades, including new elevators for the terminal. The Cupertino company also paid $5 million to Metrazur to vacate the space.