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Apple's first D.C. store facing repeated opposition

The wait for Apple's first retail store in the nation's capital will reportedly drag on, as local preservationists have been unable to see eye-to-eye with the Mac maker on a design for the new shop.

The Cupertino-based company acquired a building in the historic Georgetown district more than a year ago with the intention of demolishing the structure and replacing it with a flashy high-profile Apple store.

Although it's since been cleared to raze the building at 1229 Wisconsin Ave., Apple has been unable to pass its design proposals for the new store through a review process governed by a pair of local preservationist bodies, according to the Georgetown Current [PDF].

The paper reported last week that the Georgetown advisory neighborhood commission rejected the third consecutive proposal from the electronics company at a December 2nd meeting, and that the Old Georgetown Board did the same at its own meeting two days later.

Concern that Apple's design may be too radical for the surrounding neighborhood appears to be the primary issue. Its most recent proposal calls for a glass first story "with a solid-stone upper facade punctuated by a large window shaped like Apple’s logo."

"The board felt that the design turned the building into a billboard," said Tom Luebke, a spokesman for the Old Georgetown Board tasked with approving new building designs for the historic district.

Apple's first design proposal in September of 2007 included an a glass lower story and a second floor that featured punched windows. When that design was rejected, it returned this summer with an all-glass proposal, which was similarly shot down.

"That first time, like every time after, it was a question of scale,” said Luebke, who noted that the board was not keen on the sprawling glass facades. "The board wanted something less autonomous, something that supports the historic district."

Apple must now return to the drawing board and come up with yet another proposal should it wish to proceed with plans for the Wisconsin Ave. shop.

In its struggle to pass a proposal for the Georgetown store, it was recently reported that Apple has failed to pay the $70,162.17 in taxes it owes since purchasing the property. The more than year-long delay has led the city's government to issue two penalties that have now boosted the company's taxes owed to $84,545.42.