One of the mysteries that had Apple watchers guessing during construction of the Highland Village Apple store was the whereabouts of the back-of-the-store area. With such an open air design, where would the offices, break rooms, product storage and restrooms be located?
Rumors flew about a secret underground chamber. As one swamplot.com reader observed during the initial excavation:
I saw an excavation that was far deeper than needed for a typical strip center foundation. … [The excavators] were at full extension which would suggest a foundation 15’ below grade. Sounds like a basement to me.
Another reader responded to the contrary.
In the real estate industry, we call basements in Houston “underground swimming pools”.
The clues to the real backstage location were visible all the time, but only made themselves clear over time. It is easy to be misdirected by all the activity on the construction site, but keen observation revealed a change happing over the next door neighbor. The window above Sprinkles, the cupcake shop, disappeared over a few months. Coincidental renovations?
Back in December I postulated that this would become the backstage area. Construction documents filed City of Houston later revealed that Apple had taken about 3,500 sq. ft. of space above two adjacent stores. The extra deep excavation turns out to be a 7-ft.-tall tunnel for access to the store’s electrical and display systems. A few days from now the store will open and all this will seem obvious. That’s why I am hurrying to post this tonightSpecial thanks to Apple watchers Gus Allen and Jeff Peoples for use of photos.