Apple plans secret new prototype store featuring transparent ground level, atrium with live trees

Christmas PD5FM $10 discount“Apple is quietly preparing to move its downtown Palo Alto store to a new, larger space just a block away on University Avenue,” Will Oremus reports for The San Jose Mercury News.

“There it will build an Apple Store that project developers referred to in planning documents as ‘a new prototype for the company.’ The facade will be entirely transparent at ground level, vast skylights will flood the store with natural light, and trees will grow inside, fed by the sunlight from above, according to a proposal submitted to the city’s architectural review board,” Oremus reports. “The building at 340 University Ave. is an 86-year-old structure best known as the longtime home of Liddicoat’s grocery.”

“By a 3-0 vote the architectural review board recommended approval of the renovation project at a public meeting Thursday in which the identity of the store was never mentioned. But several sources told The Daily News it’s a new Apple Store, and Palo Alto’s current planning manager Amy French confirmed Thursday that’s her understanding as well,” Oremus reports. Alexander Lew, chair of the architectural review board, said the project’s developers told him they were “not at liberty” to disclose the intended tenant. ‘Apple is pretty secretive about that kind of stuff,’ he said. ‘But at the same time, when you look at it, the design is pretty unique. … I think a lot of people have kind of guessed.'”

“The architect is Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the same firm that won awards for the design of Apple Store Fifth Avenue in New York,” Oremus reports. “The plans call for demolishing and replacing the existing facade and roof, changes that the city will allow because the building has already changed too many times to qualify for historic protection. The new space is about 10,700 square feet, including a mezzanine, according to city documents. ‘The whole design is inside-outside, with everything completely exposed,’ said Lew of the architectural review board. ‘With the huge skylight, there’s going to be lots of daylight and it will feel more like an atrium inside. … We’re excited about the project.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. To follow up, “We are not at liberty to disclose the intended occupant,” with, “Apple is pretty secretive about that kind of stuff,” is a pretty big slap in the face to Apple, and pretty much a confirmation of the fact.

  2. Great to see they keep the innovation going forward in their retail strategy.
    I think at this point, Apple should partner with Marriott and launch the Apple Hotel.

    Think about it for a while: Apple TV in every room, Apple store in the lobby.
    Macs at every corner, iPod touch to every waiter in restaurants, etc.

    It would be THE place for people to get familiarize with Apple digital lifestyle.
    It would take only 10 of these hotels in key locations of the 5 continents.

    C’mon Apple, do it like Disney and their theme parks.
    It is time to push the concept beyond the Apple Store.

  3. “[…] atrium with live trees”

    Thought #1: Because having dead trees would probably send the wrong message.

    Thought #2: RUMOR: Apple Stops Selling Electronics, Becomes “Rainforest Cafe” competitor.

  4. @lokiz
    Guess you have never been to Palo Alto. We seldom have hot weather or cold weather. Lot of Palo Alto folks don’t bother with A/C in their homes. Plus the glass wall is on the north side of the building. I often take walks on University Ave and I can’t wait to see it. The current Palo Alto location is just too small. Wall to wall customers almost all the time. It is going to be beautiful.

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