SAN JOSE — Apple is moving closer to a grand opening at San Jose’s Westfield Valley Fair mall for one of the tech titan’s flagship stores.

The new store will be perched at a prominent location next to what’s already evolving into a busy dining district at the San Jose shopping, restaurant, and entertainment complex on Stevens Creek Boulevard.

An Apple logo and a sign touted the prospect of a soon-to-open Apple store that’s expected to be a two-story retail site in San Jose.

“We’ve got something special in store for you,” stated a sign on a wall of the future store. “Our grand opening is coming soon.” The Apple logo was in black.

Apple and Westfield Valley Fair made a wise move by placing the new Apple store next to the outdoor restaurant area of the shopping center, in the view of Nick Goddard, a senior vice president and retail expert with Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm.

That’s because shopping centers in an era of increased online commerce are being prodded to evolve into destinations and not merely places to buy products, Goddard said.

“You have to make an experience out of it,” Goddard said. “Valley Fair has reimagined itself as a place for entertainment, and gathering, and a place for a unique experience.”

Plus, Goddard believes it could be possible for Valley Fair and Santana Row, which is across the street on Stevens Creek Boulevard, to coalesce as a mega-hub for destinations.

“With Valley Fair and Santana Row next to each other this is becoming a major new place to go for a unique experience,” Goddard said.

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Apple’s flagship stores in the Bay Area include sites in San Francisco’s Union Square retail district, Palo Alto, and Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza center.

Among the features in the San Francisco Apple flagship store: ‘The Avenue,’ which features changing window displays; ‘Genius Grove,’ an area that invites customers to work side-by-side with Apple geniuses under a canopy of trees; ‘The Forum,’ a gathering place that features a video wall and is the home of ‘Today at Apple;’ ‘The Plaza,’ which is open to the public 24 hours a day, features public Wi-Fi and seating, and offers weekend performances by local artists; and ‘The Boardroom,’ a space where the store’s business team offers hands-on training and advice for entrepreneurs, developers, and other small- and medium-sized business customers.

The increasingly busy downtown San Jose area, as well as the prospect for additional development in the city’s ‘midtown’ district between the shopping malls and the downtown, may also have been a draw for Apple and a flagship store.

The store is poised to have a dramatic presence at Valley Fair, according to a March 2019 filing by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, a France-based developer and owner of retail complexes.

“URW (Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield) signed a new two-level flagship Apple store in Westfield Valley Fair,” the real estate company said in the regulatory filing. “The indoor-outdoor location will feature a spectacular facade facing the new outdoor dining precinct.”

The mall owner has made it clear that it sees Westfield Valley Fair as a complex whose appeal will be widespread throughout the Bay Area.

‘Our stylish new outdoor dining district, featuring award-winning chefs, will develop into a one-of-a-kind destination that houses intimate seating areas, alfresco patios, canopy trees, and fountains with fire elements,’ Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said in a post on the development page for Westfield Valley Fair.

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