The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that Apple may be moving its store in downtown Palo Alto, CA to a new, larger space that would be "a new prototype for the company." Planning documents quoted by the newspaper describe a store that has a completely transparent facade at street level and huge interior skylights. There will be so much daylight in the stores that trees can be grown inside the building.
The store is planned for 340 University Avenue, where a Z Gallerie furniture store was formerly located (see photo at right). The architectural review board for Palo Alto voted 3 - 0 in favor of allowing the project to move forward.
According to the article, the architectural firm involved in the new store is Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. This firm designed the Apple flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, which is a huge glass cube above ground level with the store located beneath the cube. Apple has declined to comment about the proposal, and the applicant for architectural approval was not specifically named, but the architectural review board chair, Alexander Lew, says that "a lot of people have kind of guessed" that the tenant is Apple.
The developers sent the city a note stating that "The proposed store is a new prototype for the applicant. Fully half the function of the store serves to provide education and service to business as well as customer patrons in addition to product sales. The store is a commons for the applicant's community to gather."
The memo continues to say that the glass storefront "dissolves the boundary that traditional store facades create. By not breaking the horizontal ground plane of the sidewalk with opaque wall or landscape element, for example, the street is made part of the store's interior; the pedestrian is in the store before entering it."