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Detroit has high hopes of getting its first Apple Store

Exterior of what is claimed to be a forthcoming Apple Store in Detroit (Source: Detroit Free Press)

Repeated rumors of Apple opening a store in downtown Detroit have taken on new life as construction begins on a prestigious but as yet unnamed retail site.

Detroit is already home to one of Apple’s Developer Academy programs, which was made in partnership with local Gilbert Family Foundation in 2021. Separately, co-founder Dan Gilbert owns the building that is now seeing retail construction work.

According to the Detroit Free Press, two unnamed local people say that construction workers have told them they are working on an Apple Store. There is certainly retail construction work underway, behind three covered-up storefronts between 1426 and 1434 Woodward.

Separately, a retail employee working in the area initially refused to comment, but was then asked if it would be wrong to say that an Apple Store was coming. “I can’t confirm,” he said, “but it wouldn’t be a bad guess.”

Consequently, it all sounds a little feeble and perhaps even just the same wishful thinking since Gilbert talked up the possibility of an Apple Store in 2015. He told press then that “it’s more likely than not” that Detroit would get a store within five years.

However, it is also the most concrete — possibly literally — sign of a store coming to what is a prestigious shopping area. Apple tends to position stores in regions with other higher end ones, and Nike has a store further down Woodward Avenue, while Gucci is also nearby.

Plus the three covered-up store fronts previously belonged to prestigious perfume retailer Le Labo, clothing store Madewell, and clothing/lifestyle brand Detroit is the New Black. All three appear to have vacated some time during 2022.

At present, the nearest Apple Store to Woodward Avenue is Apple Somerset, which is in Troy, around 22 miles away.