Apple’s space-age Campus 2 plans revealed: complete with amphitheatre

I am just back from San Jose; and on the flight back happened to be seated next to a Cupertino resident who had just received a brochure from Apple entitled Apple Campus 2, along with a letter from Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer beginning “Dear Neighbor”, describing the plans and requesting support.

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I found the document fascinating for several reasons. First, this will be a remarkable building. The building is a four-storey circle that looks like an elegant flying saucer come to land. It will include “one of the largest corporate campus solar installations in the world” and will be 100% powered by renewable energy. It will also have 300 electric vehicle charging stations. The “High performance smart building” will use, according to the document, 30% less energy than a typical office building.

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The majority of the parking will be underground and Apple will create a landscape that is 80% green space, 120 acres of it, creating “a peaceful environment for our employees”. Currently there are 4,273 trees on the site; this will increase to 6,000 trees.

The landscape design of meadows and woodland will create an ecologically rich oak savanna and forest reminiscent of the early Santa Clara Valley. Extensive landscaping including apricot, apple, plum and cherry trees will recall Cupertino’s agricultural past.

The site also includes a “world-class auditorium to host product launches and our corporate events”. For unstated reasons there is also an amphitheatre in the enclosed garden.

It sounds delightful; but Apple does note that “As with the current site, Apple Campus 2 will not be open to the public.”

Another key point: “The campus will be clean, with no manufacturing or heavy industrial activity onsite”. The reason of course is that Apple has exported such activity to China, far out of sight of its genteel Cupertino neighbours.

Since the site, delightful though it may be, will be closed to the public, Apple’s appeal for the support of local residents is based on other things: improvements the company plans for surrounding roads, and the fact that Apple is the largest tax payer in Cupertino. The new campus will “allow Apple to remain in Cupertino,” the brochure says, with the veiled threat of departure should the plans not be granted.

Finally, I was intrigued by Apple’s solicitation of support. Here are the options on the reply-paid card:

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There is no option to object to the plans; but there is space for written comments.

Apple says that the plans will be considered by the City of Cupertino “later this year”, that it will break ground immediately approval is granted, and expects to occupy the campus in 2015.

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