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Is Apple planning shopping under the stars?

Santa Monica Planning Commission will decide whether to allow a unnamed retailer to erect a store with an all-glass roof. Apple looks to be behind it.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Is Apple erecting a new store in Santa Monica?
Is Apple erecting a new store in Santa Monica, Calif.? Santa Monica Planning Commission

An anonymous retail company is asking the city of Santa Monica, Calif., to allow it to erect a store with an all-glass design. But based on the images in the permit request, it doesn't appear that the company is doing the best job of keeping things quiet.

According to the Santa Monica Planning Commission (PDF), the unnamed retailer wants to build a new single-story, 8,084-square-foot building with 75 feet of street frontage on the Third Street Promenade. Most importantly, that building will come with an all-glass roof and entrance way, making it appear quite likely that Apple is the company behind the design. Apple currently has a store on the Third Street Promenade.

What's more, the proposal includes images of the building, which shows an awfully Apple-like design, complete with a simplified store layout and tables for people to browse products, mimicking the look and feel of Apple stores already in operation. The blog Curbed LA first reported on the possible new Apple store yesterday.

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But that's not the only place Apple is apparently trying to open another store. Last month, CNN reported that Apple had submitted plans to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board to build a new store in New York's Grand Central Terminal. If approved, the company is expected to pay about $1.1 million in rent per year for a space spanning 23,000 square feet.

While it's waiting, Apple is working on improving its Fifth Avenue store. That location, which is just a glass cube that people enter to then go downstairs to look at products, is being simplified from its 90 panels of glass to just 15, to help make it look more seamless. According to Apple retail-tracking blog ifoAppleStore, the remodel is expected to cost $6.6 million.

From its beginnings 10 years ago, Apple's retail stores have been widely recognized as some of the most impressive architectural accomplishments across the retail sector. The company now has over 320 stores around the world.

The people of Santa Monica will have a chance to voice their opinions on the viability of the plans tonight at 7 at the city council chambers.

Iconic Apple stores around the world (photos)

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