After a year of discussion, Madrid (Spain) building officials have announced the approval of renovation plans for an historic building on the city’s main plaza, including construction of a high-profile Apple store. As reported by TeleCinco.com today, deputy mayor Manuel Cobo said at a press conference that the Puerta del Sol #1 project will retain the 1860-era building’s exterior and make substantial technical upgrades. More importantly, he said, “It is one more link in the process of downtown revitalization, which will contribute to increasing commercial and tourist attractions of Madrid.” The approval is now subject to public comment for one month, and will then become final. Apple’s store plans were rumored in 2010, and the building was confirmed by tipsters last January. It’s believed Apple will occupy the ground floor and first upper level, along with some portion of the basement. The store could open in fall 2012.
According to Cobo, the building upgrade will include a central vertical shaft to carry elevators, cabling and and air conditioning equipment to all upper levels and the basement. The façade of the building will be completed renovated and restored. A central courtyard will be covered to incorporate it into the ground floor retail space and to bring light into the center of the building. The interior spaces will also be reconstructed to provide more open spaces.
“The actions are intended not only to value a listed building,” Cobo said, “but also develop a new space more accessible and transparent, and to connect directly with the outside environment—the Puerta del Sol, the Carrera de San Jerónimo and Alcalá Street.”
The renovation plan was approved December 2nd by the city’s Commission for Protection of Historical Heritage of the Community of Madrid. The approval was required because the building is listed in the country’s Catalogue of Protected Buildings.
The seven-story building covers 65,293 square-feet, and was previously the Hotel Paris. The building is topped by the city’s most-recognized icon—the “Tio Pepe” electric sign that advertises a brand of sherry liquor. The sign has been temporarily removed during construction, but is expected to return when the work is finished.