Apple Gets Pulled into Australia Landmark Controversy

Lonsdale House, an art deco structure in Melbourne, is on the chopping block to make room for a new mall and Apple has been pulled into the controversy over whether or not the 1930s structure should be saved thanks to an artist rendition that shows the Mac and iPod maker's logo on a shop. The new Emporium Melbourne shopping center will include the land currently occupied by the historic Lonsdale House, but the developer hasn't begun leasing space to tenants -- not even Apple.

Darren Steinberg, head of the property development management team, told The Age "We're in discussions with a number of major international tenants, but at this stage there are no tenants committed to the project because we haven't formally started the leasing campaign yet."

He added "We'll be looking for an iconic retailer and Apple would certainly fit that description."

The Art Deco & Modernism Society, however, thinks Apple is lined up as an anchor store for the new mall. Robin Grow, president of the group claimed that the property developers told him that they planned make "a hero statement" by including Apple as its main tenant.

The Lonsdale House "is not heritage listed on the state register but it was listed as grading B by the City of Melbourne on their planning scheme and it was part of the heritage overlay," Mr. Grow said. "Morally... [the council] had an obligation to protect the building... and they just rolled over and wouldn't protect it."

Planning to lure a company into a new mall and actually succeeding, however, don't always go hand in hand, and so far the only tie Apple seems to have to this project is the developer's artist rendering.