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November 20, 2013

Let the Construction Commence: Cupertino Gives Apple Final Approval for Spaceship Campus

Apple image — An artist’s rendering of the 'spaceship' campus.

Apple has received final approval from the City of Cupertino to forge ahead with the construction of its futuristic campus, known as the “spaceship.”

The city’s council voted unanimously last night to authorize the project known to be a dream of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011.

The council’s support of the project was no surprise. The meeting has been described as a mere formality because council unofficially voted in favor of the 2.8-million-square-foot campus last month.

City of Cupertino image — Apple's future 'spaceship-style' headquarters.

City of Cupertino image — Apple’s future ‘spaceship-style’ headquarters.

Apple is to pick up its official building permits today and can then get started on the demolition and excavation of the old Hewlett Packard campus — roughly 2.65 million square feet of buildings — right away. The first phase of construction is expected to take about two years.

“Go for it,” Cupertino Mayor Orrin Mahoney was quoted by MacRumors. “We’re eager to see it happen. Go for it.”

As part of the 20-year development agreement Apple has entered into with the city, the iPhone maker has agreed to increase the taxes it pays to Cupertino by forgoing a portion of the sales tax rebate the city gives the company annually. According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple will receive a 35 percent rather than a 50 percent refund.

Last year, for instance, of the $12.7 million in sales tax Apple paid out in 2012, the city refunded $6.2 million back to Apple, according to the Times report. Assuming Apple paid the city the same amount this year, its rebate would be $4.4 million.

“This item was one of many negotiated between Apple and the city of Cupertino as part of the development agreement,” Mahoney told the Times in an e-mail. “The Apple 2 campus is expected to have long-term impacts on the city with respect to traffic and other issues and Apple agreed to a financial offset for some of those impacts.”


City of Cupertino image


The spaceship project will be an immense financial benefit to Cupertino. Not only does its construction ensure the city’s largest employer will remain in town, it will provide a lot of new jobs.

Once the new campus is built, Apple plans to add an additional 7,400 people to its payroll taking its employee numbers from 16,000 to 23,400, a report filed with the city states.

Employee wages and spending aside, the new campus will mean $11.2 million in net tax revenues in Cupertino’s coffers each year, according to the report which also points out Apple will generate an $8-million net fiscal surplus for the City in fiscal year 2012-2013.

The ‘spaceship’ campus itself will result in $31.7 million in property taxes for Cupertino agencies, with the city collecting an extra $1.7 million.

As part of the new campus, Apple has agreed to fund more than $66 million in public improvements such as roadways, bicycle and walking trails and parkland.

City of Cupertino image

City of Cupertino image

According to the plans, the building will include an employee restaurant and dining facilities, a kitchen and loading dock, meeting rooms, plant rooms and engineering and testing spaces. The plans also call for a central plant and research facilities that will take up about 300,000 square feet of space and a 1,000-seat corporate auditorium as well as a fitness center and, of course, the parking spaces necessary for employees and visitors — 10,980 to be exact. The landscaping will work with the natural vegetation of the area.

Apple, according to the city report, chose the site because it offers “the security and privacy required for the invention of new products by eliminating any public access through the site, and protecting the perimeters against trespassers.”


City of Cupertino image



Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.