Basements are relatively rare in low-lying Houston. But a Swamplot reader who’s been following the progress of construction at the first not-in-a-mall Apple store ever to be built in this city thinks Apple dug deep into its curtained Highland Village Shopping Center site:
Apple not only tore down the existing building they dug down far more than was necessary. . . . I saw big excavators, much larger than what would be expected and I saw an excavation that was far deeper than needed for a typical strip center foundation. If there was anything below grade that needed removal such tasks would have been done during the previous construction. . . . [The excavators] were at full extension which would suggest a foundation 15’ below grade. Sounds like a basement to me. The old saw about you couldn’t have basements in Houston is certainly not true. Many buildings downtown and in the medical center have multilevel basements.
So . . . what might Apple be hiding underground?
I expect that the “back of the store” activities may be in the basement. Since the 5th Avenue store is entirely underground this shouldn’t be a surprise. . . . perhaps this explains the slow progress as little work can be done until the building is weathered in. . . . If you look at existing Apple stores having a basement is common. Why wouldn’t one expect one here especially since this one is so small?
The new store at 4012 Westheimer is expected to be the first glass-roofed Apple Store to have entrances at both the front and the back — in all-glass walls. Store watcher Tracy Evans had guessed that the store’s “backstage” area would be concealed in a side portion of the structure designed to look like as if it were a portion of the adjacent Sprinkles Cupcakes store, visible on the left of this construction photo:
But our basement theorist thinks different:
The windows that were filled in above Sprinkles may not indicate that the space is held by Apple. Who wouldn’t be surprised if Apple paid a merchant to remove windows so that there would not be spectators during construction nor gawkers once in operation?
- Previously on Swamplot: Highland Village Apple Store Update: Back Door, Hidden Chambers, Highland Village Apple Store Will Have Glass Ceiling, Front, and Back, Force Quit, Restart? Apple Scrapes New Retail Building on Site of Planned Highland Village Store