Heritage Victoria has rejected plans to partially demolish a part of Federation Square in Melbourne to make way for an Apple flagship store due to the area being culturally significant.
The controversial idea was first announced in December 2017, with construction on the publicly-owned plot anticipated to commence in this year.
The announcement prompted harsh public backlash due to the commercial nature of the project, and opponents of the idea began a crowdfunding campaign to raise $40 million in order to buy the building slated for demolition.
In a statement, the government said it would rethink the future vision of the site. “Apple and the Victorian Government have acknowledged that based on Heritage Victoria’s decision, the proposed Apple global flagship store cannot proceed,” it read.
Heritage Victoria stated in its rejection of the proposal on Friday that the plans could lead to “unacceptable and irreversible detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of Federation Square.”
As part of the construction plans, portions of the Yarra Building were to be bulldozed to make way for the tech giant’s new space.
According to the Victorian government website, the project was supposed to create over 500 square metres of new public space and better connect the Melbourne landmark square to the Yarra River. It also planned to host events and collaborate with nearby museums on cultural and art programs.
Apple said in a statement that it was disappointed by the decision.
“While we are disappointed we’re no longer able to pursue our plan for Federation Square, we remain committed to serving our customers in Melbourne and across Australia. All 22 Apple retail stores are proud to offer their communities a special place to gather, learn, and be inspired.”
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