News

Apple plans new flagship store on University Ave.

Company reportedly plans to move to empty retail building about a block from its present store

Palo Alto's downtown Apple Store may soon be moving across the street.

The Palo Alto Architectural Review Board approved façade improvements for the building at 340 University Ave., at its Thursday-morning meeting.

The city staff report does not name the store that would be moving in, but board members said everything about the application has convinced them that it would be Apple. A company spokesperson said Apple hasn't made any announcements about a new Palo Alto store and declined to confirm or deny reports of the new store planned for Palo Alto.

The Daily News has also identified Apple as the new tenant, citing "sources."

The project applicant, the architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, also declined to comment on who the store tenant will be, citing a confidentiality agreement. The firm has also worked on Apple Stores in New York City, London and Tokyo.

Judith Wasserman, member of the Architectural Review Board, said the board wasn't informed that the tenant would be an Apple Store. But it was fairly easy for the board to deduce the applicant's identity based on the application, she said.

"It was clear, when they said where the sign was going to go and when they talked about the project details, who the tenant would be," Wasserman said. "It was just really obvious."

The project applicant proposed demolishing the building's roof and front façade and installing a new "fully glazed storefront." The applicant also wants to plant trees inside the store, near the rear of the building and under a proposed skylight.

"The new glass façade is designed to dissolve the boundary between exterior and interior to connect the activity on the street and within the store," the applicant wrote

According to the project description, the store would be a "new prototype for the applicant." The description also states that the applicant's stores "generate significant foot traffic, well beyond other typical retail stores."

"The proposed improvements to the existing building will add vitality to the already busy pedestrian environment of University Avenue, especially during the evening hours," the applicant wrote.

The retail building that will house the new Apple Store has most recently housed the furniture store Z Gallerie. Under the changes approved by the board, the building's front façade and roof would be demolished and a portion of its mezzanine removed.

The building would also feature a flat roof with two skylights.

The existing Apple Store at 451 University Ave., a block away from the new store site, will reportedly be closed. It was opened with great fanfare in 2001.

Wasserman said the board wasn't told who, if anyone, would be moving into the existing Apple Store.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:26 am

I miss the old Z Gallerie, it was a nice place.
Wasn't that the old Liddicote's building too?
So many changes.
But maybe Apple will have enough room to really
hold some classes where their customers can
think instead of all the distracting noice they get
now.
That parking may be better as well.


Like this comment
Posted by Blatt
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:30 am

..........and the original Mrs Fields outlet!


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:44 am

Steve Jobs is going to knock down another one of our classic buildings on University Ave. Apparently, they plan on destroying the current masonry of the existing facade and will replace it with an all glass facade. It took an arsonist to destroy the old Walgreen's building. The new building looks pretty boring - all glass and steel.

Now Steve Jobs is destroying the 86 year old facade of the former grocery store and furniture store (Z-Gallery). Our store fronts will have all the character of a Manhattan street scape. Rah Rah! This will get through because his Steveness' Apple Stores have a great architectural reputation, but does he really need to destroy an existing piece of classic Palo Alto architecture do it?

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:47 am

I do not think that the city should approve this project until Apple guarantees no new net car trips in Palo Alto due to this store and also provided housing for it's employees. That is the standard we need to set for any and all businesses that open in town, no matter how big or small or no matter what they deal in (i.e. same would apply to hotels). After all, if you are going to make these demands of Stanford, they should be made of all businesses. If the development at Stanford is to be considered like having "to swallow a bowling ball" (as one former councilmember put it), then an Apple Store or a hotel or a restaurant would be like swallowing a golf ball or a tennis ball.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:09 am

Oh God noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, please get something more interesting in there like Z Gallery. PLEASE!

As to 'Too Much Traffic', have you BEEN downtown lately? It's a ghost town. And a retail store should employ housing for its employees? Is that a serious suggestion? Should it also pay for their food, gas and entertainment? It's a job, not an indentured servitude.


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:14 am

Hmmm. The current 340 University Avenue building was only built by the most prominent architect of Palo Alto's style, Birge Clark. So, why wouldn't it be considered historic? Web Link

Hmmm. Z Gallerie's version of 340 University Avenute looked a heck of a lot like 1950 Liddicoat's. Time marches on when Apple waves it's magic wand. Let's build another glass box. Web Link

Our "wonderful" Architectual Review Board has determined that the facade of the building has changed too many times to be historic. Hmmm. Web Link





Like this comment
Posted by enough
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:15 am

I just saw George's comment....THEY WOULD KNOCK DOWN THAT BEAUTIFUL OLD LIDDICOATS BUILDING? The new Walgreens is hideous. The old building was lovely, they could certainly build old/new structures, the houses on Waverly by Homer can attest to that. PALO ALTO STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE...


Like this comment
Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:20 am

Times and tastes change. I think the new Walgreens building looks great (and I can see the upper floors from my office window).

People hated the Transamerica building when it was built it.

That being said, I love the old Z Gallerie building. It just says "Facade improvements" — I wonder what those actually are.


Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:33 am

Enough--as I said if you are going to make those demands of Stanford, then you should of every business in town. As one of our former council members once said--even one additional car trip is too many.
My comment is semi-tongue in cheek--either the city decides that it wants much more tax revenue--which involves businesses that have people go to them--which means additinal car trips and traffic or they can decide that there is "too much traffic" in town and discourage business with onerous rules and regulations. But if you demand it of one entity, then it should be demanded of all entities.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I remember the Liddicoats' eateries fondly. That was before University Ave had the diversity of restaurants it has today. Of course, most can't compete on price, which is what made Liddicoats so popular with us working stiffs who would flock there for lunch.
As for Z-Gallerie - I enjoyed visiting there but rarely bought anything. Too expensive and mostly not my style.

But getting back to the topic at hand: Z-Gallery really changed the appearance of 340 University. While Birge Clark may have designed the original Liddicoats, nothing remains of his "Old California" style so I tend to agree with the review board's conclusion that the building, having had it's facade updated multiple times over the years, "lacks sufficient integrity to have the potential to be identified as an historic resource".

Besides, I think the current Apple Store does accomplish much that is called for in the Downtown Design Guidelines: "maintaining a strong ground floor retail and . . . enhancing the qualities which make an exciting outdoor and pedestrian environment, including vibrant and eclectic architecture". It sounds from the description, as if the new design accomplishes this even more successfully.
I have to say that I can't wait to see the new Apple Store!


Like this comment
Posted by Penny
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Apple will VACATE their current building, creating opportunity for an "interesting" business to move there. Large spaces are hard to fill in these economic times. I'm glad there is a thriving business that wants the larger space. I hope we'll get lucky with some innovative, smaller retail business in Apple's current site. I'm glad Apple opted to stay on University Avenue when they outgrew their current space.

The sky is not falling. Change does not always bode disaster. It's often a good thing.


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Steve, look at the pictures of Liddicoat's. The facade hasn't changed that much. Now we'll have another sheet of glass with steel sticking out on University. That'll look fantastic.

Steve, you're a fan boy.


Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I'm with Steve here. Whatever brings foot traffic to downtown is a good thing. I'm all for architectural history, but cities need to evolve. Apple brings serious money into Palo Alto. These shoppers go to the restaurants, yogurt stores, bookstores, coffee stores - and other downtown establishments. If a bigger Apple store means more money means more tax revenue for our city, then masonry be-gone.


Like this comment
Posted by Ann
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 8, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Great! Love it. :)


Like this comment
Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Who remembers when the Apple space used to the cooking business, and then it practically burned down?


Like this comment
Posted by Fs
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm

He could relocate to the Cheesecake Factory and not have to make any changes to the facade. Economical and fits the style.


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

The Cheesecake Factory is really beautiful - NOT. However, it did replace a real piece of junk bank building that had zero architectural style. It's too bad that our architectural review board thinks that eclectic is a style. It's not. It's a hodge podge of crap. Let's ask for more from these architects. And, let's keep the traditional building materials and style of the original University Avenue classic buildings.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm

George -
Not sure what a fan boy is. I don't own any Apple items, though I confess to lusting after the 3Gs iPhone. I do love that Apple is always pushing the envelope with respect to technology and I like that they do it with style, even though it isn't the style I'd choose for myself. Modern Sleek isn't something I could live with but it is very eye catching, which is what a commercial operation values more than sedate and traditional.

George, you provided a link earlier to a photo from 1950 of the block that contains Liddicoats and next to it is a more recent photo of the same businesses:
Web Link

Near as I can tell, the buildings haven't changed during that time, just the facades have changed, along with the businesses inside.

And that's all that's happening here. Apple's renting the building for decade or so and changing the facade to reflect their special sensibility. It will attract more people to the shop and they'll probably visit other shops & restaurants in the downtown. All this is good for business, which is down considerably since the recession. So let's applaud, looking forward to an exciting design for a building that's currently sitting vacant, and looking forward to increased sales tax to help Palo Alto get out of its fiscal hole.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Evan -
Not only do I remember the cooking school, I remember the music store that preceded the cooking school. Jerry Garcia supposedly taught guitar lessons there back in the early 60's and practiced with his first band "The Warlocks" before the Grateful Dead and acid and the Summer of Love.
Anybody remember the name of the music shop?


Like this comment
Posted by Bauby
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 8, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I agree with Steve too. I have lived in Palo Alto's immediate area since 1966 and remember Liddicoat's and all the old places being spoken of. Downtown has only improved. Apple brings alot of tax money into Palo Alto. These shoppers go to the restaurants, yogurt & ice cream shops, bookstores, coffee shops and the other downtown establishments. I miss places like Mrs. Fields Cookies, Suzanne's Muffins and Rapp's Shoes with the trains that my kids used to love and their mynah bird, etc., but still I'm glad that University Avenue does not look like it did 45 years ago. GO, APPLE!! Description of new place sounds really nice.


Like this comment
Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 8, 2010 at 4:36 pm

The music store was called Swain's House of Music and was owned by a local family. Two of the eateries in Liddicoat's still exist. One is located at Town and Country behind the Nature Gallery and the other one which sold mediterranean food is in San Jose.


Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

As far as I am concerned any change that brings more business to Palo Alto is a positive move and if it brings more cars and traffic we need to either live with it or find a way to deal with it. Palo Alto should make every effort to bring new business to the city.


Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Just to throw in a bit of mystery...since the permit must appear to be a "computer" showroom/store, could this possibly be what Microsoft has already commited to do...get into the retail storefront business?


Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm

When Swain's was closing, Ruth Swain was reminiscing about Jerry Garcia, who gave guitar lessons there. As I recall, she said she thought his new band had little hope when he asked her clerk how to spell "grateful."


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm

We bought my first trumpet at Swain's in 1966. I took lessons there for years. My Dad grew up in Los Altos in the 1930's and 40's - he took violin lessons at Swain's...


Like this comment
Posted by Eva
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 10, 2010 at 8:48 am

I really enjoyed Z Gallery and miss having it downtown. That said, the location has been vacant for some time now and the empty location sticks out like a sore thumb. Given how large the retail space is, it was probably tough to find a tenant who wanted that much space. I can't think of many retailers who would be willing to open such a big location at this time. So, more power to Apple. Hopefully they will bring in some needed extra tax revenue and traffic to downtown.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm

I only once went into that building as Z Gallery because it looked unsafe in an earthquake. It's an old building (86 years old) with a lot of brick.


Like this comment
Posted by realist
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Palo Alto has little or nothing of historic interest that is older than 40 years. Its golden age is now. Old Palo Alto is mostly boring provincial crap.


Like this comment
Posted by PACA
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 11, 2010 at 1:46 am

I spent last summer in London, England - That is a beautiful city, full of character and historic architecture. We are are a new country, California is even newer still and the city of Palo Alto is a little over 100 years old ....... most of the buildings along University Ave are simply old, unsafe, and rat infested not historic. This is a progressive college town and periodic changes are a good thing. A bigger Apple store is a Great thing for our city - it is a fun, upbeat, bright, educational place that is very reflective of our community and brings in a lot of money to the local economy.


Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2010 at 8:58 am

Take a look here:

Microsoft's First Retail Store Opens

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:20 am

PACA--I agree with you--there is little to nothing that is historic in Palo Alto. And that is a problem for some people--it is not good enough for them to live in a nice town that benefits from Stanford--they must have "historic" structures. Remember the "historic home land grab" ordinance that was pushed through by one of our newly elected council members a number of years back? That was overturned by the people--that should be a clue that there is nothing historic here. People are afraid of change here--they seem to think that the way it was 50 years ago was better--let us see these people give up their WifI, High-speed internet, cable TV/satellite TV and return their homes to the way they were 50 years ago.


Like this comment
Posted by Bambi
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Ah change is in the wind once again. Remember the good ole days. Well the new Apple store is a welcome change to the eye sore that has sat empty since Z Gallery left us. We need to bring retail and life to downtown. This is a great new change and more to come in the next year. Palo Alto has been a ghost town for sometime unless you visit the Old Pro and Nolas late at night, We need to bring families and the over 40 crowd to town!

Nothing stays the same. Not even us. Embrace change and welcome the new Apple store!
A great local employer and we need more of the same.


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