Mystery store built at The Grove during COVID-19

| December 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

A local mystery, ongoing since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns in early spring of 2020, has been solved!

literally bit the dust at The Grove, leaving an empty site in May 2020.

Suddenly, in April and May of 2020, the former Crate & Barrel store at The Grove disappeared. No, not just the tenant, but the entire building! What was the construction activity underway?

We asked folks at landlord Caruso, but nobody was talking. Nobody would say what was to come.

A TOWER CRANE helped build the new mystery building, including its wide-span steel roof. October 2020 photo.

Then, slowly, new construction activity began taking place behind fences. Most intriguing, viewed from the upper levels of The Grove’s parking structure, were substantial foundations being built on the ground level of what appeared to be a wide-open, three-story-high, single room. By October of 2020, steel roof girders spanned the vast space.

Would it become some sort of a restaurant with magnificent outdoor dining, year-round, a turn-on-a-dime redesign by an architect because of the pandemic?

What would it be? But again, nobody was talking. It was said to be a private project, not being built by Caruso, and Caruso’s representatives would not comment.

ALL WRAPPED UP, one year later in October 2021, the new store had yet to be announced. Santa flies nearby!

A little investigative diligence in 2021 revealed the name of the architect who had signed the building permit applications. Further research showed him to be a partner in the San Francisco office of Foster + Partners. That firm, founded by architect Norman Foster and headquartered in London, is famous for many buildings, including London City Hall; the “Gherkin Building,” also in London; 1985’s HSBC Building in Shanghai; the reconstruction of the Reichstag Building in Berlin; the Torre de Collserola, built in Barcelona at the time of the 1992 Olympics; and many, many more.

One of the firm’s major commissions was Apple Park, the computer company’s circular headquarters in Cupertino, California. And, lo and behold, Foster + Partners also has been a major contributor to Apple Store designs around the world. Remember the glass cube in front of the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue in New York? Foster + Partners.

BIG DOORS mark the welcoming entrance to the new Apple Store at The Grove.

And there is a modern, large Apple Store with a huge open space and landscaping facing Union Square in San Francisco. Foster + Partners again. And, in a very different vein, Foster + Partners was responsible for a significant (and recent award-winning) local historic preservation project. The architects designed the new Apple Store in the historic Tower Theater on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. Funny thing, the architect for that Apple Store is the same one who signed the permit application for the mysterious new building at The Grove! Definitely a clue.

Finally, in early November, the cat was let out of the bag. Surprise! What would be this new building at The Grove? A new Apple Store! On November 19, the new store opened, and the old store across the fountain closed. Among the first-day visitors was Apple CEO Tim Cook.

INTERIOR features mature trees and a mirror ceiling.


APPLE CEO TIM COOK joined Apple fans and employees at the November 19 opening.
Photo by Suzan Filipek

The new store has twice the space of the old one, which apparently was among the busiest Apple stores in the world, with 27 million visitors since it opened 19 years ago.

“FORUM” area provides seating. The view is to The Grove’s fountain and parking structure.





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Category: Entertainment

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