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In exchange for more than four million dollars of renovations and upgrades, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is allowing one of its stations to an Apple advertisement. The deal will revamp the North and Clybourn Red Line station in Chicago and give Apple first dibs on all advertising space in the station. Apple also gets first dibs on renaming the station, should the CTA decide to sell that, too.

Apple isn’t just doing this for the publicity — the Cupertino (Calif.) company is looking to improve the appearance of the town for the sake of their nearby retail stores.

The CTA is selling-out its station in response to a looming $178 million dollar budget deficit next year, instead of increasing fares and cutting back on service.

The North and Clybourn station, affectionally called the iStop by some, won’t see a change to its classic brick exterior aside from a new landscaped space in place of an unused bus lane. Apple confirmed that they were working with the CTA on the station, and is installing seven lighted ad stands, but declined to comment further. $4 million seems like a drop in the bucket when you’re staring down the barrel of a $178 million dollar budget deficit, but I guess it can’t hurt.

Photo: Erik Unger