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. It’ll fit right in with the Fry’s Electronics “theme” stores. I’m particularly fond of the Egyptian one.

    That said, will they have sales people in Ewok and Wookie costumes? The geniuses could be dressed as elves right out of LotR. Microsoft would, of course, get it all tragically wrong when they try to copy it and dress their copy-cat geniuses (whatever DO they call them?) as orcs.

    It could only happen in California.

  2. @HughB:

    Sorry, I lived there for 12 years and grew up 100 miles from there. Yes, it does get into the triple digits there fairly often at certain times of year, notably September.

    I used to love watching the tourists arrive fro a baseball game at Candlestick Park in flip-flops and tank tops in the afternoon, only to have the temperature drop to 50 and the wind start blowing the coffee out of your cup as soon as the sun went down. Ah, those were the days!

  3. No, not like that. There are no trees.

    Also, the federal court building in downtown Phoenix has an all-glass outer wall. I thought that was just asking for trouble especially in the summer when it hits 130, but it is actually very comfortable inside. I’m sure Apple and the architect have it figured out. Some sort of passive solar job…

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