Steel frames rise at next-gen Apple store in Seattle's University Village mall

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Apple is making steady progress on a next-generation retail outlet in Seattle's University Village mall that, once complete, will stand face-to-face with a Microsoft Store located just feet away.

Photos of the construction site sent to AppleInsider by Gregory Ashworth show work on the store's steel superstructure is nearly complete, with support beams, roofing, awning pieces and other vital elements in place.

Contractors appear to be focusing efforts on the store's interior, as wall materials can be seen stacked on the unfinished floor. Exterior work is also being conducted, specifically preparations for what will likely become a flat-top roof.

Like other new Apple store locations, the University Village outlet is expected to feature an open floor plan with dedicated areas for product showcases, a Genius Grove and Today at Apple forum. Other amenities include a large planter for an indoor tree.

Building permits unearthed by The Seattle Times in April describe the project, dubbed "Village Green," as a spacious 11,600-square-foot building with basement and approximately 6,300 square feet of retail space. By contrast, Apple's recently opened Chicago flagship is a massive 20,000-square-foot glass, metal and wood structure.

The building's general design seems to follow an aesthetic introduced with Apple's revamped Stanford campus store in 2013. A substantially flat, metal and concrete roof tops walls of glass to create a wide-open feel, allowing visitors views outside and passersby a peek of products inside.

The documents are credited to architectural firm and longtime Apple collaborator Foster + Partners, with at least one addressed to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., the report said.

Today's photos match up with the supposed Apple store plans, lending further credence to their authenticity.

Apple has not commented on the building plans, nor has the company confirmed it is working on a new store at University Village. It currently operates an outlet in the mall in a much smaller stall. The store's dedicated informational webpage does not mention an upcoming move, suggesting construction will not be completed anytime soon.