Edinburgh’s worst kept secret has finally been confirmed – Apple is coming to the Capital.
The technology giant’s distinctive logo was unveiled this morning at 7am outside its new Princes Street location.
The site of its new home, opposite the Balmoral Hotel, is the former Woolworths and Burger King outlets.
But true to tradition, notoriously secretive Apple sources were remaining coy today about an opening date, only saying it was “imminent”.
The layout of the store and how many jobs it would create was also kept under wraps.
But behind a typically Apple gleaming white and polka-dotted barrier, the store is expected to be sizeable, occupying the Princes Street shopfront running around the corner into West Register Street.
The store is a major coup for the Capital, which has had to wait years for an official Apple store while the west has enjoyed two, in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street and at nearby Braehead.
The launch has been shrouded in secrecy, with spokespeople for Apple refusing to confirm the tech retailer’s imminent arrival.
The exterior of the building up until now hasn’t given away any clue of its future tenant, and even when press were invited to inspect the hotel that will sit above the store, their official guides were tight-lipped about what was going on the ground floor.
There have been occasional slip-ups, however. In March, workers posted a sign asking for “Apple store deliveries” to head around the corner to West Register Street.
Lothian Buses also threatened to ruin the surprise by renaming its stop at east Princes Street ‘Apple store’ on some of its onboard digital displays.
Apple’s arrival breathes new life into an architectural gem on Princes Street. Built in 1769, the building opposite the Balmoral Hotel was erected as the first residential property on the street. It became the Crown Hotel before Woolworths moved into the ground floor in 1926. Since Woolworths pulled out in 1984, a series of smaller shops including Waterstones, Boots, Evans, Wimpy and Burger King have all since been and gone.
The planned opening is the latest indication of a shift in economic gravity towards the east end of Princes Street. Apple joins major retailers on that half of the main shopping avenue including Topshop, H&M and Marks & Spencer, while vacant shops towards the west of the street have failed to attract high-profile tenants.
Since its completion in 2003, Multrees Walk has been the premier luxury shopping destination in Edinburgh, and that status is set to be confirmed when the £850 million St James Quarter redevelopment next door welcomes global fashion brands that have so far avoided Edinburgh.