Hip to Be Square: How Harry Macklowe and Steve Jobs Built the Iconic Apple Cube

Two American corporate giants. (MacRumors)

It is a POPS done right.

The Apple Cube on Fifth Avenue managed to transform a windswept plaza at one of the busiest intersections in Manhattan into a destination known the world over—one that became a shrine to its creator when Steve Jobs passed away earlier this week. The Journal‘s Eliot Brown (an Observer alum!) talked with reclusive developer Harry Macklowe about how the cube came to be. Like all things Apple, it wasn’t his idea but Jobs’.

“Shortly after I won [the $1.4 billion bid for the GM Building],” Mr. Macklowe said, “the real estate director called me and said, ‘Your idea has been very well received in Cupertino – would you be available to make a presentation personally to Steve Jobs?’”

Mr. Macklowe said he made the trip, and walked into a conference room off Mr. Jobs’s office to find “a full model of my plaza and his idea of what could be built there.”

For the entrance, Mr. Macklowe proposed a number of options.

“We had crescent, we had rectilinear shapes, we had round shapes,” he said.

Mr. Jobs had a different idea.

“He is solely responsible for the cube,” Mr. Macklowe said. “I had different shapes and different ideas, and his cube was somewhat different than what it is now, but it’s Steve Jobs’s idea.”

Mr. Macklowe, who had to sell off his beloved GM Building two years after the Apple Store opened, is revered for his real estate genius, and while the plan for the Apple store was his—he reached out to the company first—of course Jobs prevailed when it came to the look of the building, which is in the process of being streamlined even further.

It is too bad neither of the men will be there to see it through.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Mr. Macklowe purchased the building the year before he bought it, in 2007, as opposed to 2003, as was actually the case.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC Hip to Be Square: How Harry Macklowe and Steve Jobs Built the Iconic Apple Cube