It’s official. The plans to create an Apple store in Washington, D.C.’s historic Carnegie Library are moving forward, thanks to the approval of the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).
According to the staff report and recommendation filed with the HPRB, “The preservation benefits of this project far outweigh the drawbacks—especially on the exterior.”
The proposed alterations to the exterior of the building are almost exclusively restorative. There will also be new, “subtle” signage with Apple logos.
The south plaza will experience minor upgrades meant to further accommodate ADA requirements, while the metal switch-back ramp on the southern edge of the site will be removed. A new frameless glass door capped by a multi-story transom will be added.
According to the HPRB staff report, the most significant changes proposed to the building’s interior include removing the original laylights from the Great Hall ceiling in order to create a new retail atrium. In this space, a video screen will be installed, and “circulation bridges” will connect the upper floors. The sales floor will also be tree-lined and with a skylight overtop.
Currently, the library is used as office space for the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and as an event space for Events DC. The library was the first desegregated public building in the city.
Starting this fall, construction is expected to begin in order to convert the 113-year-old structure into an Apple store, the second one in the District. Lease terms have not yet been finalized, but the expected proposal is for 10 years with two five-year extensions.