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Cupertino City Council Approves Apple’s Massive ‘Spaceship’ Campus

CUPERTINO (KCBS) – Apple’s plan for a massive new campus in Cupertino has gotten the green light from the city council.

Though there are still some concerns about traffic congestion in the area, the Cupertino City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the 2.8-million-square-foot project, with a final vote still to come next month.

Apple Campus 2 has been in the works for seven years and was described by former CEO Steve Jobs as “an iconic landmark” and “like a giant spaceship landing.” The four-story circular building is encased almost entirely in glass and surrounded by natural green space.

“We have spent the last four years working diligently on this project, designing it with the same care and attention to detail as we do with all Apple products,” said Dan Whisenhunt, Apple’s head of real estate and facilities. “This is a very important part of that legacy.”

Ed Hirshfield, a longtime Cupertino resident, said in regards to traffic concerns, he didn’t think traffic would be any worse than when Hewlett-Packard owned the land.

“There were traffic issues, but they are no worse than the traffic issues surrounding the campus on Stevens Creek right now,” he said.

The project includes a 1,000 seat auditorium, a central plant and research facilities and would house more than 14,000 employees.

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.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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