Developer: No Apple store at D.C.’s CityCenter

RETAIL
CityCenter won’t have an Apple Store

The preeminent real estate project in the nation’s capital will not be home to one of the country’s preeminent retailers, Apple.

Hines Interests, the Houston developer behind the $1 billion downtown CityCenterDC project, said Tuesday that Apple has pulled out of negotiations to open a store there, a setback to plans to make the development a destination for high-end retail.

For more than a year, the developer and the tech giant discussed opening a showcase Apple Store in a prominent storefront — construction of which is nearly complete — that takes up the entire side of a building facing what will be a public plaza along New York Avenue, giving it unobstructed downtown views.

The deal would have given Apple a downtown presence possibly akin to the store Apple opened in 2011 in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

But Apple withdrew from negotiations last year, according to Howard Riker, managing director at Hines, who is overseeing the project. He and the company declined to comment further.

Apple did not immediately return an e-mail requesting comment. The company has one D.C. store, in Georgetown, as well as six in Northern Virginia and three in the Maryland suburbs.

— Jonathan O'Connell

EXECUTIVES
Pimco chief El-Erian to leave in March

Mohamed El-Erian, heir apparent to Pimco co-founder Bill Gross, will step down as chief executive and co-chief investment officer, raising questions about the future of Pacific Investment Management, the world’s largest bond-fund manager.

Neither the company, which announced the changes Tuesday, nor El-Erian gave a reason for the departure, which comes at a time when many investors are turning their backs on the kind of bond investments that Pimco is famous for offering. Customers withdrew $41.1 billion from Pimco’s flagship, Total Return Fund, last year, a record amount for the $2 trillion manager, according to investment research firm Morningstar.

El-Erian, 55, had increasingly been Pimco’s public face, appearing regularly on cable television and at industry conferences. Bill Gross, 69, who spent decades building Pimco into the colossus it is today, said two years ago that when he retired he expected El-Erian to take over.

On Tuesday, Gross tweeted “PIMCO’s fully engaged. Batteries 110 percent charged. I’m ready to go for another 40 years!”

El-Erian will remain a consultant at Allianz, the German insurer that owns Pimco.

— Reuters

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