Apple’s Grand Central store opening officially set for Dec. 9

December 1, 2011, 4:48 PM UTC

A retail outlet well-placed to become one of the world’s busiest and most profitable

Photo by Dean Kaufman

More than four months after construction began last summer, Apple (AAPL) is finally set to unveil a new store — its fifth in New York City — on the upper balcony of Grand Central Terminal at Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street.

The company announced Thursday that the space will open to the public at 10 a.m. Friday December 9. The media has been invited to a preview two days earlier.

Apple’s expenses on the new store were relatively low by New York City standards because of restrictions imposed by the terminal’s landmark status. And according to the New York Post, the terms of the lease offered by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the building, were unusually favorable — especially for a location with so much well-heeled foot traffic — and are being investigated by the state comptroller.

Some 750,000 people pass through Grand Central’s marble halls every day, and traffic swells to more than 1 million per day during the holidays. According to the terminal’s official website, 50% of its commuters’ household incomes are over $100,000, and 20% are over $200,000.

Several press accounts put the size of the new retail space at 23,000 square feet, which is big for an Apple Store but smaller than London’s Regent Street (25,000 sq. ft.) and Covent Garden (24,600) outlets. As is its practice, Apple declined to offer square footage numbers.