updated 12:25 am EST, Wed November 20, 2013
Long-delayed new HQ should open in 2016, permits now beginning to flow
[Updated with details of city tax agreement] In a ceremonial final meeting on the matter, Cupertino Mayor Orrin Mahoney gave the final OK for permit issuing and other clearances that will allow Apple to finally break ground on its long-planned Campus 2, the new facility not far from its original campus where the company's "spaceship" facility and other supporting buildings will be built. The project, which has seen environmental delays and some cost overruns already, is expected to cost $5 billion and open sometime in 2016.
Apple plans on beginning construction immediately, hoping to get at least some work underway before the holiday break. It is facing a short deadline despite delaying the opening of the campus by a year. Former Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs initially proposed the project at a Cupertino City Council meeting in 2011, in what turned out to be his final public appearance before his death. His original vision was to reclaim most of the land bought by the company (formerly an old HP campus) and restore it back to park and orchard land as it was originally, with the various Apple facilities taking up only about 20 percent of the 150 acres.
The conservative use of the land will be augmented by underground parking, two above-ground garages that will also generate solar power, walking trails and other designs intended to make efficient use of the developed portion of the land. A huge park will be available with the O-shaped main building for events, outdoor dining and other "accidental interactions" - a key element of Jobs' design for the facility, a concept he borrowed from his time at Pixar.
The main building is expected to hold some 12,000 employees, while subsidiary structures will include an underground "Town Hall" theater, a visitor center, a bus terminal, employee gymnasium and other facilities. "We're eager to see it happen," Mayor Mahoney said at the largely-ceremonial meeting. "Go for it."
Update: under the terms of the agreement with Cupertino, Apple will actually be paying more taxes to the city in the form of a reduction of the amount rebated in Apple-related purchases made in the city. "The Apple 2 campus is expected to have long-term impacts on the city with respect to traffic and other issues," said Mayor Mahoney. "Apple agreed to a financial offset for some of those impacts." Currently, the city refunds Apple half of the sales tax it collects on Apple purchases - about $12.7 million a year - but will now refund Apple only 35 percent, meaning the company will end up paying about $1.8 million per year more per year, based on 2012 sales.