We've heard of Apple spending money on minor restorations and renovations of the areas surrounding their stores, but $4 million to refurbish an adjacent subway station seems a bit excessive. Especially since they're barely getting anything out of it.
The pictured subway station is located on North Avenue in Chicago, next to a future Apple store location. While Apple's stipulation that the subway station renovations be completed by September 30, 2010 gives us a bit of a hunch as to when the store might open, it still remains a mystery exactly why the company is pouring so much money into prettying up a corner of Chicago. According to the agreement they're not getting very much out of it:
[I]n exchange for the improvements the CTA will lease the bus turnaround to Apple at no cost for 10 years, with options on four, five-year extensions. The CTA will also give Apple "first rights of refusal" for naming the station and placing advertising within the station, if the CTA later decides to offer those rights.
Alright, and Apple intends on making that bus turnaround into a "landscaped public park," so there's no profit to be found there and the "first rights of refusal" are worthless if the CTA never actually decides to offer any of those advertising options and rights. It almost seems as if Apple's doing this for the warm fuzzy feeling that comes out of doing something incredibly wonderful for a city's development. I'm proud of you, Apple, but I still think Bill Gates is cooler for trying to cure malaria with candy. [ifoAppleStore via Mac Rumors]