05/16/12 10:41am

Sure, it’s a temporary fix, but it does make those shot-out glass panels on the brand-new Apple Store in Houston’s Highland Village Shopping Center look all clean and sleek again — if not a little gun-shy. The shattered panel above the Westheimer Rd. entrance has been smoothed over with a covering of adhesive black film. For symmetry’s sake, the film has been applied to the adjacent panel as well, to frame out a new large Apple logo decal in the center. The new decal stands in for the now obscured glowing Apple logo fixture that hangs in the same location just behind the window:


05/03/12 11:00am

How well does a store built of structural glass hold up under gunfire? Probably better than your typical plate-glass storefront — though the repair costs are likely to be higher. A reader sends Swamplot this photo showing the smaller of 2 glass panels damaged by bullets earlier this week at the brand-new Apple Store in Houston’s Highland Village Shopping Center. Between the hours of 4:40 and 5:40 Monday morning someone in a vehicle speeding down Westheimer shot at 5 businesses, including 2 gas stations and the Cantoni furniture showroom past Gessner. No one was injured. Apple Store customers were routed to the building’s rear entrance after it opened for business, according to Click2Houston reporter Courtney Zavala.

Views of the damage from the outside, from Monday’s TV report:


03/15/12 11:42pm

Live from the corner of Westheimer and Drexel, photographer Karen Dressel sends Swamplot this first view of the Highland Village Apple Store, which opens Friday at 8 am. The black paper covering the panels on the company’s first-ever glass-roofed, double-sided store was just removed this evening, in front of a dozen or so new-iPad camper-outers lined up in back.

Photo: Karen Dressel

03/14/12 2:09pm

The first-of-its-kind Apple Store scheduled to open to long lines of new iPad buyers 2 days from now in the Highland Village Shopping Center is much bigger than it appears from the outside. That’s because more than a third of the space in the 9,000-sq.-ft.-plus seemingly single story store is disguised from street view above 2 adjacent shops. A 3,510-sq.-ft. you-wouldn’t-know-it’s-there second floor extends above both the Sprinkles Cupcakes shop (shown at right) and the Paper Source to its west. Some of this secreted space may be open to customers at various times. Included in the hidden second story are a briefing room with a capacity of 46 people, as well as offices, work spaces, a break room, employee restrooms, and storage space.


03/07/12 2:41pm

CONFIRMED: NEW IPAD WILL HIT NEW HOUSTON APPLE STORE ON OPENING DAY To guarantee there’ll be Apple addicts camping outside the new Highland Village store on its opening day next Friday, Apple announced today that March 16 will also be the day the new iPad — yes, that’s what it’s being called — goes on sale for the first time. The Highland Village Apple Store, the company’s first not-in-a-mall store in Houston, will also be the first glass-front, glass-back, and glass-roof location to have entrances at both front and rear. Does that mean there’ll be 2 separate lines too? [Mashable; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Vinson

03/01/12 12:55pm

HIGHLAND VILLAGE APPLE STORE TO DEBUT WITH THE IPAD 3 The Apple Store still under construction at the corner of Drexel and Westheimer in the Highland Village Shopping Center will open just in time for the debut of the iPad 3. If, that is, workers scramble quickly enough to get the glass-roofed, walk-through structure ready to open by March 16th — which a super-secret source tells Chron tech columnist Dwight Silverman is the official opening date. And, uh, if Apple actually goes ahead and introduces an iPad 3 on March 7th. Oh yeah, and also if the new iPad actually goes on sale on the 16th or later. Please form your line to the left, in front of Sprinkles Cupcakes. [TechBlog; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Vinson

02/28/12 4:30pm

Lines aren’t forming outside Houston’s first non-mall Apple Store, and the glass on the front on back facades are still blacked out and protected — it’ll be a little while before the building at the corner of Westheimer and Drexel in the Highland Village Shopping Center is ready for business. But passersby were treated recently to a few glimpses of the store’s innards. Because it will be Apple’s first glass-roofed store with both front and rear entrances, you can expect the interior to turn out a bit different from other local locations.

Here are a couple of sneak peek views snapped through open doors and leaked to Swamplot:


02/24/12 9:51pm

The black curtains that shrouded the exterior scaffolding at the Apple Store construction site at the corner of Westheimer and Drexel in the Highland Village Shopping Center came down today, a reader reports. But a full reveal of Apple’s first-ever glass-roofed see-through-and-walk-through store — and (perhaps) whatever secrets lie below or next to it — will have to wait for a further strip-down: of the material still covering the all-glass front and back facades.


02/23/12 3:49pm

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?


01/03/12 1:00pm

HIGHLAND VILLAGE APPLE STORE REBOOT Did you know the shiny new Apple Store with the glass roof and front and back walls in Highland Village was scheduled to open very soon? Well, not any more, says Nancy Sarnoff. A source tells her the opening of the first Houston-area non-mall store has been pushed back until March. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Drawing: Jeffrey Djayasaputra

12/09/11 11:40am

Dedicated Houston Apple Store sleuth Tracy Evans has posted a revised sketch of the glass-ceilinged retail space going up at 4012 Westheimer Rd. in the Highland Village Shopping Center, showing a number of details he’s figured out from careful study. The new sketch shows the store’s glass facade extending beyond the front of the bookending limestone-clad slabs on the east and west sides, as it does in the Upper West Side store this location is clearly modeled after. And contrary to an apparently mistaken report from another source, Evans says the Highland Village Apple Store will feature an entrance in its all-glass back wall, facing the back parking lot and Marmi and Francesca’s behind it.

The 3,100-sq.-ft. Houston store across Drexel St. from Crate and Barrel will be Apple’s first glass-ceiling structure to have glass walls and entrances at the front and back. So where will the back-of-house space go? Evans thinks it’ll be masquerading as part of the cupcake shop next door:


12/08/11 9:19pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: APPLE’S CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL “Also, does anyone else think that the design looks more than a little like a protestant church, with the vaulted roof, minimal design, and the identical tables setup in rows looking like pews?” [JL, commenting on Comment of the Day: Apple Store Symbolism]

12/07/11 11:27pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: APPLE STORE SYMBOLISM “Given that none of Apple’s execs are women, a glass ceiling is entirely appropriate.” [Brad, commenting on Highland Village Apple Store Will Have Glass Ceiling, Front, and Back]

12/07/11 12:37pm

How might a Houston building with an all-glass roof stand up to the Gulf Coast’s formidable sun, heat, and gloppy rainfall? We all should be able to find out after Apple’s Highland Village store opens early next year. Thanks in part to the sleuthing of Houston production company owner Tracy Evans, the building going up at 4012 Westheimer next to the Sprinkles cupcake store has been identified as a smaller and somewhat altered version of the patented design for the Apple store the company opened 2 years ago on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Unlike that design, however — which lists the late Steve Jobs as one of its creators — the company’s first outside-of-a-mall store in Houston will feature not just a glass ceiling and facade, but a glass back wall as well.

Evans’s friend Jeffrey made the napkin sketch above showing the likely appearance of the finished building — based on Evans’s description of what he saw at the Highland Village construction site. Here are a couple of views of the UWS store:


04/19/11 12:19pm

Maybe that spec retail block at the Highland Village Shopping Center wasn’t good enough for Apple, after all. A couple of readers have written in to report that the never-been-occupied eastern portion of the relatively recent building at 4012-4018 Westheimer — where Houston’s first-ever mall-free Apple Store is supposed to go — has been torn down completely. The foundation and portions of the parking lot have been jack-hammered, writes one reader: “It’s like someone took a big pair of scissors and cut it off, through the beams, etc. The rest of the structure that houses Sprinkles, Paper Source, and what will be Restoration Hardware is still there. But the end where the Apple Store is/was going to be is gone.”

A permit for the “partial” demo of the building at 4012 Westheimer appeared on Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report back on Valentine’s Day. An Apple retail fan site notes that according to its sources the Highland Village store when it opens “will bear some resemblance to the Scottsdale Quarter store.” Which looks like this: