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Apple's planned 'spaceship' campus reportedly $2 billion over budget

Apple's planned 'spaceship' campus reportedly $2 billion over budget

In June of 2011, Steve Jobs stood before the Cupertino City Council and announced Apple's desire to build a massive new campus on 98 acres of land it had previously acquired from Hewlett Packard.

And by massive, I mean that it will have a slightly larger footprint than the Pentagon.

Jobs explained that Apple was undergoing a period of tremendous growth and that it was renting buildings adjacent to its 1 Infinite Loop campus in order to house its ever-growing number of employees.

"We've rented every scrap of building we could find in Cupertino," Jobs previously noted.

Apple's proposed new campus will be able to accommodate 12,000 employees, will feature an auditorium large enough to host WWDC-scale presentations and will sport a cafeteria capable of seating 3,000.

As you can tell from the architectural renderings pictured above, the design of the new campus will be anchored by a large circular building.

"It's a little like a spaceship landed," Jobs explained to the council. "It's got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle, but it's got a lot more."

In typical Apple style, Jobs boasted that the planned structure would be comprised of curved glass.

"There's not a single straight piece of glass in this building," Jobs said at the time. "We've used our experience in building retail buildings all over the world. We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass 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."

While Jobs initially hoped that the campus would be completed by 2015, things haven't exactly gone as planned. Apple hasn't even broken ground yet and the new campus likely won't be finished until 2016 at the earliest.

What's more, BusinessWeek is reporting that Apple's initial US$3 billion budget for the project has shot up to $5 billion.

Since 2011, the budget for Apple's Campus 2 has ballooned from less than $3 billion to nearly $5 billion, according to five people close to the project who were not authorized to speak on the record. If their consensus estimate is accurate, Apple's expansion would eclipse the $3.9 billion being spent on the new World Trade Center complex in New York, and the new office space would run more than $1,500 per square foot -- three times the cost of many top-of-the-line downtown corporate towers.

The report relays that one of the reasons for the delay is that Apple is still working with its lead architectural firm -- Foster + Partners -- to lower the budget by as much as $1 billion. Part of the cost overrun is due to Jobs' extremely particular taste with respect to materials.

As with Apple's products, Jobs wanted no seam, gap or paintbrush stroke showing; every wall, floor and even ceiling is to be polished to a supernatural smoothness. All of the interior wood was to be harvested from a specific species of maple, and only the finer-quality "heartwood" at the center of the trees would be used, says one person briefed on the plan last year.

As it stands now, Apple will reportedly begin removing the 26 buildings which currently occupy the eventual landing spot for the "spaceship" this June.

As a point of interest, Apple is doing all it can to make its new campus as green as possible. To that end, campus parking will be underground as to maintain the above-ground foliage while the roof will be comprised of 700,000 square feet of solar panels.

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