Last September, Microsoft revealed plans to open its first 'flagship store' in New York City, after earlier rumors had hinted that it was in talks to acquire retail space on the city's high-profile Fifth Avenue. It's been a while since we heard anything more about those plans, but it looks like things are finally progressing.
The new store will open at 677 Fifth Avenue, a location previously occupied by Italian luxury brand Fendi. This is a part of Manhattan that's overflowing with prestigious and highly-regarded brands; right next door is Tommy Hilfiger, while the likes of Rolex, Prada and Abercrombie & Fitch are all nearby. The location is also just five blocks from Apple's Fifth Avenue Store.
As Mary Jo Foley reports, Fendi has now left the building, and Microsoft has moved in, encasing the entire edifice in a protective shell, as its renovations continue. This was captured in a image tweeted a few days ago by Microsoft SharePoint MVP Gokan Ozcifci:
The billboard across the front of the structure reads 'Microsoft Store Coming Fall 2015', which means its opening should align nicely with what's sure to be a huge holiday season marketing effort from the company, for some of the 2,000 or so Windows 10 devices that are on the way.
Work is now proceeding to transform the venue into something worthy of the title 'flagship store'. The company hasn't said much about exactly what will distinguish this Fifth Avenue location from its other retail stores in North America - but it has said that it will be "much more than just a Microsoft Store".
A Microsoft executive said last year that the new store will include an "experiential space" to allow customers to do more than just browse products on shelves. We can't help but wonder if Minecraft on HoloLens will be among the demos available there, but for now, we'll have to wait a bit longer before Microsoft unveils its new flagship retail experience.