One of two "Startup" bays shown in the renovation plans for Apple's store at University Village in Seattle.

Apple plans to renovate its 8-year-old store in Seattle, upgrading its location in the University Village shopping center with many of the “Apple Store 2.0” features more common at its newest retail locations, according to plans submitted by the company to the city.

Apple's University Village store (Credit: Apple)

The plans, discovered by GeekWire through a search of city building permit applications, come as Microsoft prepares to open its own retail store Oct. 20 at University Village — literally facing off against Apple at one of the highest-profile retail corners in Microsoft’s home region.

Apple’s changes, detailed in the planning document embedded below, call for the store to be reconfigured and refreshed with new “Apple prototypical” fixtures, new display counters, a new Genius Bar and “Startup” bays on either side of the store where clerks will assist customers as they get up and running with their new iPads, Macs and other Apple products.

Those elements are common in Apple’s newest locations, such as a store that opened in Southern California this summer, but this is the first we’ve heard of Apple giving the full “2.0” upgrade to an existing store.

Apple and Microsoft at University Village

The size of the Apple store will remain the same. The planning documents don’t give a timeline for construction. The main permit for the renovation was issued on Sept. 6 and doesn’t expire until March 2013, giving Apple plenty of time to do the work.

We’ve asked Apple about the timing, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.

[Update: The renovation appears to have begun. The Apple Store is closed until Oct. 7, according to a sign on the store, and the automated greeting on the store’s phone line.]

Microsoft this summer announced plans to accelerate the expansion of its fledgling retail chain, opening up to 75 additional stores over the next two to three years. Apple already has more than 300 stores worldwide.

Microsoft’s stores have been derided by some as colorful copycats of the Apple stores, but the experience in Microsoft stores can also be more dynamic and immersive, with elements including eye-catching video monitors that wrap around the interior. For its part, Apple’s new “Startup” areas include pairs of 55-inch monitors.

Apple’s University Village store opened in 2003. Microsoft’s new store in the shopping center is in the former location of the Miller-Pollard furniture store, across a small parking lot from Apple’s store.

Here’s one of the planning documents submitted by Apple, showing the current and future configuration of the University Village store. (Click for larger version.)

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  • Matt Witcher

    This would explain what was happening at the U-Village Apple Store last night.  After they closed, they began covering up the storefront with black sheeting.  Haven’t checked today, but maybe the renovation has begun.

    • Todd Bishop

      Thanks Matt, good intel. We checked this weekend and everything looked the same as before, but sounds like it’s worth another look. I’ll swing by there later.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Microsoft for continuing to drive innovation! Apple has been resting on its retail laurels for entirely too long.

    • Guest

      driving innovation?  In what way?  They are merely copying Apple, both in look and location.  And that store that is driving innovation, drove a company out of business.  (Use your favorite search engine to search for Miller-Pollard.)

      • Guest

        It’s OK. Not everyone understands innovation.

      • RDL

        They’ve caused Apple to actually jump and try to take thunder away by going toe-to-toe with them.  Calling them a copycat is like calling Best Buy a copycat of say Circuit City or Walmart a copycat of Sears.  They compete.  Competitors see an oponent do something that may either take away marketshare or at least change public perception, and they need to respond or get left behind.  I’m glad to see MS taking the fight to them and fighting the good fight.  (Yes I own both ‘i’ and ‘m’ devices but the ‘i’s collect dust mostly)

  • Mike Mathieu

    Ahhh, the power of competition.

  • Forrest Corbett

    They remodeled this store a couple years ago for the same reasons.

  • Contact Laurie Lyon

    Apple rocks!

  • Morgan

    There is a sign on the front of the now closed University Village Apple store stating “We’ll be back on October 7”.

    • Todd Bishop

      Thanks for the help! I just called the store to double-check and you’re right, it’s closed until Oct. 7 for renovation. That’s three days after the expected iPhone 5 unveiling, and a little less than two weeks prior to the Microsoft Store opening across the lot.

  • Gregory Heller

    It is my recollection that Apple closed the u village store for renovation a year or two ago.  So this would be a second revamping in <3 years.  Microsoft couldn't even come up with their own clever name badges, they have completely copied the name badge style used by apple. Parking is already a nightmare, and is only going to get worse.

    • Guest

      I have no idea why the U Village Apple Store always seems to close for the bigger events.  Sure, they were open for the iPhone 4, but as my friend and I were discussing, they were closed for the Leopard and Snow Leopard launches, and will be closed for whatever’s happening in October.

  • Anonymous

    Apple should open a store in downtown Seattle. 

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