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Update: Huge Apple 'Spaceship' Building Project is Approved

The Apple Campus 2 project is expected to create 9,000 construction jobs and 8,000 long-term jobs once it opens.

It really DOES look like a spaceship. Apple is going to build this circular building in Cupertino to house 12,000 employees.
It really DOES look like a spaceship. Apple is going to build this circular building in Cupertino to house 12,000 employees.
Updated Wednesday

Bay City News — The Cupertino City Council on Tuesday approved a massive project by Apple to create a 3.7 million-square-foot campus that will feature a giant ring-shaped building some refer to as the "spaceship.

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people, many of them Apple employees, gathered in the city's community room as the council reviewed plans for Apple Campus 2, which will be built along North Wolfe Road near Interstate Highway 280.

The council voted 4-0 to approve a series of permits, an environmental report, a 20-year development agreement and an amendment to the city's general plan for the project, with Councilman Rod Sinks not participating because his wife works for Apple.

The city requested that Apple increase the percentage of its workers using transit other than cars from 28 percent to 34 percent to reduce the expected jump in traffic at intersections in the area, and on I-280 and state Highway 85.
(Read more about the traffic debate here.) 

(To read Patch's live blog of a previous public hearing about the project, click here.)


Currently, about 72 percent of Apple's employees who work at the company's Cupertino headquarters drive there alone in cars, according to Jane Bierstedt, a principle for the transportation consulting firm Fehr & Peers, of San Jose.

About 12,000 people are expected to work at the planned new campus, on property bounded by North Wolfe Road, Tantau Avenue, Calabazas Creek and Homestead Road. Dan Whisenhunt, Apple's senior director of real estate development, told the council that the project would bring an estimated $3 billion in revenue to hotels, restaurants and other local businesses during the firm's 20-year development agreement with the city.

The Apple Campus 2 project also would create 9,000 construction jobs and 8,000 long-term jobs once it opens, Whisenhunt said.

 "As you all know, for millions of our customers around the world, Cupertino is synonymous with Apple," Whisenhunt said. "It's on every box. Everybody knows that. The Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, they were all created right here in this town."

 Published reports have suggested the price tag for the new campus could be as high as $5 billion but Apple has released no official figures, and Whisenhunt would only say the cost is "more than a billion." He said Apple's goal is that "future generations of Apple innovations" would be developed at its new campus.

The campus would be constructed in two phases, with the 32-month first phase including construction of the 60-foot-high circular main building containing 2.8 million square feet of office space surrounded by a "savanna" of oak and other trees native to the Cupertino area. Inside the central garden courtyard, there would be orchard trees and a 1,000-seat amphitheater.

Nearly 11,000 parking spaces would be included in the initial phase, along with 2,000 bike parking spots, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, jogging trails, an on-site bike-sharing program and solar panels. The second phase, which will take about 16 months, would add 600,000 square feet of office space for research and development, with a 100,000-square-foot laboratory and testing area, restaurant, parking and energy generation plants.

 The 176-acre project site is at the former campus of Hewlett-Packard. The Apple Campus 2 project is expected to be completed by about mid-2016. The current Apple headquarters, located at 1 Infinite Loop, will remain operational. The council is scheduled to take a second vote on the project on Nov. 19. 

Posted earlier

Bay City News — The Cupertino City Council on Tuesday will consider giving initial approval to the massive, 176-acre Apple Campus 2 project proposed by Apple Corp. along a busy thoroughfare near Interstate Highway 280.

Apple's project features a 2.8 million-square-foot, ring-shaped building that some refer to as the "spaceship." There has been apprehension about the added traffic the office's  12,000 employees would bring, Cupertino city spokesman Rick Kitson said. "There are a lot of concerns about the project," Kitson said. "There is also a lot of support for the project."

Apple would demolish the closed, 171-acre Hewlett-Packard campus that Apple acquired on property bounded by North Wolfe Road, Tantau Avenue, Calabazas Creek and Homestead Road, and develop it in two phases over 48 months, according to Kitson. The area was busy with car traffic when Hewlett-Packard used it up until a few years ago, but there would be considerably more traffic at the Apple Campus 2, Kitson said.

 "The proposal will surpass that level of activity," Kitson said. "There is no doubt there will be a big change." To help soften the traffic impacts, Apple would use its bus fleet and other alternative transit to bring from one-quarter to one-third of its employees to the campus, Kitson said. 

Apple may also be in talks with Caltrans about paying to widen I-280 to accommodate freeway commuters, Kitson said. Among the city's top concerns are three left-turn lanes that would run from the campus entrance onto southbound North Wolfe Road, Kitson said.

 According to city planning officials, some drivers heading to the on-ramp to northbound I-280 would have to quickly change lanes to the right to get onto the highway. The concern is that the rapid lane changing would be dangerous.

 The planning commission suggested several options for addressing that issue, including fining Apple $500 each time an employee made an unsafe lane change at that spot.

 The first phase of the Apple Campus 2 project would include construction of the giant, 60-foot-high circular building, which would have a central garden courtyard featuring orchard trees and a 1,000-seat amphitheater. Also in the first phase, 10,980 parking spaces would be created, along with 2,000 bike parking spots, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, jogging trails, an on-site bike-sharing program and solar panels.

 The second phase would add 600,000 square feet of office space in buildings meant for research and development, with a 100,000-square-foot laboratory and testing area, a restaurant, parking and energy generation plants. The City Council meeting on the Apple project will be at 5 p.m. today at Cupertino City Hall, 10300 Torre Ave.

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