Ground control to Major Tim

October 25, 2013 admin

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, may have to take his protein pills and put his helmet on, as it seems he will finally be able to land the mother ship that Steve Jobs had only dreamed of. The City Council of Cupertino, Calif., has given approval to Apple to begin construction of their long-anticipated Campus 2, which, in current concept images, looks more like the space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey or the utopic space-world in Elysium than an office building. Maybe Jobs got the idea for his ideal work environment while dropping in on the 1975 NASA Summer Study conducted at nearby Stanford University, where the Stanford Torus ringed space-station design was originally developed.

Current plans are for ground to be broken this year, and, while it won’t be nearly the size the Huffington Post would lead you to believe, the main building alone will still be approximately 2.8 million square feet! (For reference, each World Trade Center tower contained roughly 4.8 million square feet of space.) Though the sci-fi headquarters, designed by architectural firm Foster and Partners, won’t house the likes of Ziggy Stardust, it will still be filled with as many as 13,000 Apple-ites upon completion. The outer edge of the main building will be constructed entirely of cutting-edge curved glass, with Jobs even claiming, “There isn’t a straight piece of glass in this building.” Construction is expected to be completed in just 32 months.

Jobs, a Cupertino native, first brought the idea to the Cupertino City Council in 2011 with a presentation that had City Councilmember Orrin Mahoney commenting, “Now that we’ve seen your plans, the word ‘spectacular’ would be an understatement. I think everybody is going to appreciate what clearly is going to be the most elegant headquarters, at least in the U.S.” But it wasn’t until this month, following a proposal from Apple’s director of global real estate Dan Whisenhunt, that the city council finally approved plans to keep Cupertino’s largest taxpayer within city limits.

The 176-acre site, much of which Apple purchased from Hewlett-Packard in 2010, will be completely transformed as existing buildings totaling roughly 2.66 million square feet are demolished and replaced by not only the mother-ship headquarters, but a fitness center, auditorium, utility plants, underground parking center and a variety of ancillary buildings as well. Additionally, the site, located off Highway 280, will be revamped from a space containing only 20 percent green space and several parking lots to one that is nearly 80 percent landscaped with 90 percent of surface parking removed and replaced with underground parking units. Nearly 3,000 trees will be added to the lot as David Muffly, Apple’s senior arborist, works to reduce water consumption by adding indigenous vegetation that is adapted to the area’s dry climate. Additionally, current plans will have the building running entirely on renewable energy.

Though construction will create approximately 9,000 jobs and keep Cupertino’s most important business in Jobs’ hometown, vice-mayor Gilbert Wong wants more: “One thing I want to ask you to keep in mind is giving back to the community. … We don’t like going to Valley Fair [Mall] or Los Gatos for an Apple store; we would love an Apple store here in Cupertino.” It is quite surprising that there isn’t a single Apple store in Cupertino, but, all jokes aside, Apple’s Campus 2 seems to prove that the future may be now, at least when it comes to office buildings.

“Definitely, the mother ship has landed here in Cupertino.”

— Gilbert Wong, vice-mayor of Cupertino

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ReggieClodfelter91x119Reg Clodfelter is a reporter at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

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