Liftoff: Apple 'spaceship' campus approved, building to begin

The City of Cupertino, California, has approved Apple's plans for its new "spaceship" headquarters, Mercury News reports. After a six hour meeting on Tuesday evening the council voted unanimously in favour of allowing Apple to realise Steve Jobs's vision of a massive campus housing up to 14,200 employees. 

"Campus 2" is a major undertaking, projected to cost roughly $5 billion across a site of 175 acres. Apple and Cupertino have released several mock-ups of the campus (see gallery), showing a design described as "spaceship" when the late Apple boss met city representatives in 2011, in his last public appearance before  his death

The site is bounded by Homestead Road, N. Wolfe Road, I-280 & N. Tantau Avenue and properties located on the east side of N. Tantau Avenue. In addition to office  space, the new Apple campus will have a 1,000-seat auditorium for events, 300,000 sq ft (28,000 sq m) of research and development facilities, a fitness centre and and orchard. A dedicated generating plant, powered by natural gas and other forms of energy described as more environmentally sound,  will provide the primary source of electricity 

At the 2011 meeting with Cupertino officials Jobs said of the building: "It's got a gorgeous courtyard in the middle, and a lot more. It's a circle, so it's curved all the way round. This is not the cheapest way to build something." 

During Tuesday's meeting to approve the campus, the city council discussed the impact on the environment and traffic in the area. "The project will certainly cause traffic issues," said Council member Mark Santoro, "but I'm happy to hear Apple's going to work with us on solving these problems." 

It's been a relatively long battle for Apple to get the new campus approved, with Jobs threatening in the past to leave Cupertino for neighbouring Mountain View. But Apple makes up the largest tax base for the city of Cupertino, leaving the council little choice but to approve. 

Commenting on Twitter, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the new campus will be Apple's "home for innovation and creativity for decades to come" .

A final vote on the planning approval will be held on 15 November, with Mercury News saying it's merely a formality. Apple says it plans to begin work on the new campus by the end of the year, to open by 2015 or 2016. Apple's original Cupertino campus will remain in operation alongside the spaceship "Campus 2."

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