Apple Campus 2 Wins Approval: New Spaceship Complex To Begin Construction In Cupertino, Completion Projected In 2016

  @redletterdave on October 16 2013 2:08 PM

After the Cupertino, Calif., Planning Commission approved plans for “Apple Campus 2,” which is commonly referred to as Apple’s new “spaceship” campus, the Cupertino City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved the project after more than six hours of discussion.

During the deliberation, a number of Cupertino community members expressed both support and concern for the new endeavor by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), but the unanimous decision on part of the Cupertino City Council was met with loud cheers and applause from those in attendance.

"The project will certainly cause traffic issues," said Councilman Mark Santoro shortly before Tuesday’s vote, "but I'm happy to hear Apple's going to work with us on solving these problems."

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Steve Jobs first introduced plans for the new Apple headquarters in Cupertino back in 2011, shortly before his death on Oct. 5. Following his appearance, Cupertino officials raved about the building’s bold “spaceship” design, calling it a “legacy building” that would be “unprecedented in the United States.”

"It's a pretty amazing building," Jobs said at the time. "It's a little like a spaceship landed. It's got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle. It's a circle. It's curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It's all curved. We've used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building. … It's pretty cool."

Pending any petitions that must be filed within 10 calendar days, the ruling from the Cupertino City Council is final, which means Apple will be granted ancillary permits to begin demolition of its current campus, which used to be the former Hewlett-Packard headquarters, and begin removing and relocating utilities and trees while installing a temporary sound wall. The formal agreement between Apple and the City of Cupertino will be given a mandatory second public reading on Nov. 19, and Apple’s permits would go into effect the following day.

“As my mom used to say, ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,’” Carol Baker, a longtime resident of Cupertino, told the council Tuesday evening. “If we don’t honor Apple with this building, they’ll leave. There’s no reason for them to stay here and be loyal to a community that doesn’t support them. But if they left, it would be a disaster for the city.”

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To build Apple Campus 2, Apple plans to flip its current 175-acre site, which Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer calls a "sea of asphalt" since the campus is composed of 80 percent asphalt (you can take a virtual tour of the current building here), and transform the area with a giant ring of polished glass that opens up the space to be 80 percent parkland.

"The concept of the building is collaboration and fluidity," Oppenheimer told the San Jose Mercury News in an exclusive interview last week, echoing sentiments from Apple executives Sir Jony Ive and Craig Federighi from their interview late last month. "It'll provide a very open-spaced system, so that at one point in the day you may be in offices on one side of the circle and find yourself on the other side later in the day."

According to the official Apple Campus 2 Project page on the City of Cupertino’s website, Phase 1 of the campus renovations will require building a 2.8 million-square-foot, ring-shaped main building with an underground parking facility that will house about 2,400 vehicles. Apple Campus 2 will also feature a 120,000 square-foot auditorium, an 100,000 square-foot fitness center, and a separate parking structure that can hold roughly 6,000 vehicles.

Renderings and drawings of the new Apple spaceship campus first appeared in late 2011, describing a "distinctive and inspiring 21st century workplace" that consisted of a four-story ring to accommodate up to 16,000 employees, with a mostly subterranean parking lot to help preserve the beauty of the site's natural surroundings. Check out our photo gallery of the new Apple Campus 2, and read the full project proposal, which we’ve embedded below. The spaceship headquarters, as well as the rest of Apple Campus 2, is expected to be completed by 2016.

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