Tim Cook greeting iPhone customers at Apple Palo Alto.
Apple has announced that their retail location in Palo Alto, CA will be closing for an undetermined amount of time beginning in May. The building will be remodeled as part of Apple’s strategy to bring all of its 500+ retail locations into the Today At Apple era. While store employees have not yet been given a specific date of closure, the renovations are expected to begin in “mid May.” We’ll update this post as more information becomes available. Update: Apple’s website now indicates the store will close as of May 13th.
It’s become standard procedure for Apple to close their stores for long periods of time during remodeling, but Apple Palo Alto is notable because of its age. Upon originally opening in October 2001, it was the company’s 9th store in the world and the first near Apple’s campus. In October 2012, Apple moved down the street into a dramatically larger and more open storefront. With a custom, arched glass roof and stone walls, it is one of only four globally with a similar facade. Apple Upper West Side, Third Street Promenade, and Highland Village all share similar details.
Today’s renovation news is surprising, considering that the current store is less than 6 years old, and cost an estimated $3.15 million. The space was designed by architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, also responsible for New York’s 5th Avenue glass cube, and Palo Alto’s neighboring store, Apple Stanford. At the time of construction, Apple Palo Alto was called a “new prototype” and designed to be a community gathering space. Despite sharing goals similar to Apple’s current “town square” store philosophy, the building predates the rollout of dedicated seating areas and video walls for Today At Apple events.
Permits filed with the City of Palo Alto give insight into Apple’s plans for the space. A “new video wall, new ceiling in back of house,” and “second floor reconfiguration” are among the expected changes. To support the weight of the video wall, reinforcing structural work will be completed in the basement of the store. The permit lists a job value of $6.6 million, but an actual breakdown of real costs has yet to be provided. Remodeling work will be completed under the direction of Woods Bagot, an architecture firm based out of San Francisco.
The video wall at Apple Regent Street in London.
It’s unusual for Apple to frequently remodel stores outside of malls, which tend to be much larger and more expensive projects. Many other locations have remained relatively untouched for over a decade aside from minor fixture and display refreshes. Palo Alto’s jump in the renovation queue might be due in part to the fact that the store is frequented by Apple executives during new product launches. Thanks to its proximity to Apple’s campus, Steve Jobs was known to visit the old store, and stopped by during the launch of the original iPad in 2010. Tim Cook and other executives have celebrated the launch of several products at the new store, including the iPhone 5s/5c, iPhone 6, iPhone SE, and iPhone X.
Over this past weekend, both Apple Natick Collection and Apple SouthPark temporarily closed for expansion. UPDATE: The closure of Apple Natick Collection was rescheduled for May 31. The company also announced the permanent closure of its Apple Watch shop at Tokyo’s Isetan department store following the opening of Apple Shinjuku across the street. Follow along with our retail guide for more Apple store news.