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Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 02:11 pm PT (05:11 pm ET)

Apple rumored to fill iconic Castro Street building in San Francisco

An historic landmark building at the epicenter of San Francisco's gay district is rumored to become the city's fourth Apple Store.

Citing "plugged in tipsters," real estate blog SocketSite noted today that Apple is rumored to have set its sights on the property, which originally served as a Bank of America.

rumored Castro Street Apple Store location

Image: SocketSite


The building has most recently served as a Diesel apparel store, which unexpectely closed this month after the building's landlord reportedly demanded a 50 percent rent increase.

The side of the building was remodeled to partition off a separate space originally housing a Noah's Bagels and subsequently used by a Sprint store. Since its closing, the space has remained vacant for years. The two empty spaces could be rejoined into a larger, single space, with dramatic high ceilings.

On the corner of LGB&T



The Castro building's neighborhood took on a gay-friendly identity in the 1970s, one of the first areas to do so in the US. The neighborhood elected the city's first openly gay supervisor Harvey Milk, who was assassinated in 1978.

During the filming of "Milk," a 2008 movie staring Sean Penn as the gay rights activist, the "BoA" building and other landmarks of the neighborhood were stripped of any modern signage to serve as the set for the 1970's era production.

The building sits next to "Harvey Milk Plaza," a memorial that serves as the entrance to a subway station on the corner, and underneath an oversized rainbow flag. Diesel also recently outfitted the building with an animated series of LED lights that illuminate to give it a rainbow appearance at night.

Transit link, transforming neighborhood



Apple has built retail stores in other locations that include improvements to adjacent transit stops, including Chicago's Lincoln Park store, which contributed $4 million toward renovating the formerly drab Red Line station underneath it. Apple's first San Francisco store also includes an entrance to the Powell Street BART station, and its Grand Central store in New York City occupies one of the world's most famous rail terminals.

San Francisco already has plans in place to spend $3 million redeveloping the building's neighborhood with widened sidewalks, more pedestrian friendly crosswalks and new amenities including bike racks and green space "parklets."

Castro Street improvements  planned

Image: SF Curbed


There are also several large new housing and retail projects currently planned or under construction in the immediate area, making it an enticing location for an expansion of Apple's retail stores in the closest major city to the company's headquarters in Cupertino.

At the same time, it should be noted that developers frequently suggest the potential of an Apple store when planning new projects. One building under construction just two blocks away portrayed an Apple logo on the early renderings of its housing on retail complex. The final tenant for the space turned out to be a bank instead.

Apple did not comment on the location, but has historically worked to keep its retail expansion plans secret. The company recently outlined plans to invest $1 billion into retail store expansion and upgrades in fiscal 2013.