Encouraged by increased sales in Spain over the past 18 months, Apple continues to push forward with plans for 10 stores in the country, the latest to be inside an historic building facing the centerpiece Puerta del Sol Plaza. As first reported by the Distribucion Actualidad Web site, the family-owned building has been on the market for five years. But city officials are requiring that any buyer retain the building’s hotel occupancy on the upper floors, probably discouraging any deals. Apple’s retail team has been scouting the city for two years, and rumors of #1 Puerta del Sol have surfaced before. Now, Apple has reportedly committed to a lease, and there is hope that the upper floors will be renovated for a three or four-star hotel. The five-level building features detailed stonework on the ground floor, rows of tall windows above, and wrought-iron balcony railings. The building is topped with an electric sign for Tio Pepe brand sherry, which draws photographers and helps orients tourists. The city has just completed a major reconfiguration of the plaza, which previously consisted of a tangle of streets and intersections clogged with cars, trucks and buses. The finished design eliminates many intersections, relocates several statues, and creates more plaza space, all making the future Apple building an even more landmark destination. It’s possible that the store could open by year’s end.