Will Madrid finally get an Apple Store?

MADRID -- Rumors abound about the expected launch of the first Apple store in the heart of Spain.
Written by Jennifer Riggins, Contributor
This building was famous for its Tio Pepe jerez (sherry) sign, which has recently been removed, during restoration. It is still referred to as the Tio Pepe building. (Photo: Flickr)

MADRID--Will they or won't they? Apple fanatics: imagine a country bigger than California with only five Apple stores. Imagine the nearest to the largest city is over an hour away. It is no secret that Spain lacks Macs.

The myth of the Madrid Mac store has been mulling since at least May. Technically, the Comunidad de Madrid (or province) has two Apple stores--one in the Xanadú entertainment center in Arroyomolinos and the other in Leganés. Both stores are located in malls in Southern Madrid suburbs, which take about 35 minutes by car, without traffic, or well over an hour on public transportation with multiple transfers, from the city center.

The Apple store in the British-frequented wealthy beach town of Marbella just opened last week. It became Spanish store number 5, with Barcelona and Valencia rounding out the total.

Top Spanish newspaper "El Pais" reported in May that the planned Apple store would not only be placed on the first floor of the Puerta del Sol's famous Tio Pepe building, but that it could possibly fill the entire front of the seven story building. The murmurs have ranged from one, two or seven floors, but, if the latter is the case, the store would then exceed the square footage of the Fifth Avenue, New York store. If seven stories, it would certainly be the largest in Spain.

Of course, the newest rumors are brewing for its possible location on Gran Via (Spain's Broadway) instead.

"This is good news for Madrid and the City Council. We are committed (and) we will provide whatever is necessary for this project between Apple and the owner of the building to come to fruition," said the mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón last May. The local government is certain that this will be a perk to the stale Spanish economy.

Restoration on the 118-year-old building was predicted to be finished last month, but the construction on the Apple store has not yet begun. It is still unknown if building contracts with the owners and zoning contracts with the city have been signed. This building was previously a hotel, which would mean it would need rezoning for commercial use. Last week's Apple-in-Madrid cotillea (or gossip) surrounded the city council possibly turning down a previous retail rezoning application from Mango clothing stores, however that could simply be just another rumor.

On November 25, the largest Apple store in Spain opened in the coastal town of Marbella. (Photo: CostaBlog)

Still, there are no answers. As much as talk has spread, calls to the Apple headquarters and searches of the Web site do not provide any insight. Even though Gallardón has at least twice publicly-commented on the store's pending opening, there is no official word from Apple.

Looks as if Madrileño Apple enthusiasts will have to wait until next year, if not longer, for a nearby store.

Please post any whispers you hear below.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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