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Apple Store's 'Grand' Opening Creates Controversy

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The world's largest Apple stores is opening amid controversy inside Grand Central Terminal Friday morning. The deal, which the retailer made with the MTA, is under a state investigation.

The Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, which oversees the MTA, has begun compiling documents on the store to determine if the transit agency got the best deal possible from Apple, and if it negotiated the best deal for commuters.

According to the MTA, Apple is paying $180 per square foot over a 10-year lease. The new location in Grand Central Terminal is 23,000 square feet. the $180 per square foot cost reflects the $5 million payment to the prior tenant to clear out early, Apple's $2.5 million capital investment in the space, and $1.1 million annual rate that will rise each year of the lease.

Apple will not share any portion of its revenue with the MTA, unlike other retailers at the terminal.

The new store , which overlooks the busy main concourse, boasts 23,000 square feet and is filled with Apple's simple white tables. It will cater to busy commuters, offering 15-minute express tutorials on Apple products.

Customers can also scan and pay for a product using an iPhone, without even talking to one of the store's 315 employees.

The MTA expects the new store to increase foot traffic to other businesses in the terminal, which is visited by about 750,000 people daily.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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CommutingGrand Central TerminalInvestmentsApple StoreWPIXApple iPhone