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Australian court orders Apple must complete retail space construction

An Australian court has ordered Apple to complete the stalled construction of its retail space in Brisbane's historic MacArthur Chambers building, whether or not Apple intends to occupy the space.

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A Queensland state court ruled this week that Apple must continue paying for the work necessary for its portion of retail space within the MacArthur Chambers building. Apple must fund construction within its portion of the building until such a time that the building owner can lease the space to another tenant, according to ifoAppleStore (via TUAW).

Reportedly, roughly half the interior work on the MacArthur Chambers space is incomplete, and that work would have to be done before another retailer could begin installing their own store interior. Apple began taking bids from local contractors on the work necessary to improve the space to the standard for an "end-of-lease handover" shortly following the court's ruling.

The MacArthur Chambers building is a 1930s era construction used by General Douglas MacArthur as the allied forces' South West Pacific Area headquarters during World War II. Apple's plans to construct a retail space in the building emerged in April of 2011, when a development application was filed with the Brisbane City Council.

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The renovation was expected to cost as much as $11.4 million, with $3.84 million of that going to demolition costs necessary to remove the decades-old existing renovations. The project ran into problems when Kell & Rigby, the contractor on the construction, went bankrupt. Apple eventually decided to cancel the project in November of 2012, and no work has been done on the interior since.

Apple's reasons for scuttling the project instead of seeking out a new contractor are as yet unknown. The MacArthur location would have encompassed the ground floor, mezzanine, and basement of the building. When the plans emerged, it would have been Apple's eleventh store in Australia. Apple now has 18 locations in the country.