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Cupertino Approves New Apple Spaceship HQ 172

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the you'll-never-want-to-leave dept.
mrspoonsi writes with news that Apple's plan to raze the old HP headquarters and replace it with some kind of space ship is moving forward. From the article: "A little over two years since Steve Jobs presented his case for it and after the occasional setback, the Cupertino City Council has finally given Apple full approval to go ahead with its futuristic campus. In exchange, Apple has agreed to fork over more money to the city in the form of a reduced sales tax rebate — going forward, Cupertino will only give back 35 percent sales tax instead of the 50 percent it had previously. Indeed, as soon as Apple gets its final permits some time today, it can begin demolishing the former HP headquarters and start building its own."
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Cupertino Approves New Apple Spaceship HQ

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  • Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:30AM (#45472291) Homepage Journal

    "Under the new agreement, that rebate has been reduced to 35 percent, which based on 2012 tax revenues would mean the residents of Cupertino will pay Apple -- which recorded net sales of $156.5 billion during the last fiscal year, and has a cash hoard estimated at $100 billion -- only $4.4 million to stick around. It would have been $6.2 million under the old agreement. That's an extra $1.8 million for Cupertino, a city with only $51.4 million in projected general fund revenues this year, according to figures reported in the Los Angeles Times."

    Really Apple Cupertino gave you a tax break when things where not going well for you. Now you are doing well you are still getting a 4.4 million dollar kickback! Come one and just pay your taxes. You would increase the general fund by around 8%.
    AKA just do the right thing.

    • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:41AM (#45472355) Homepage Journal

      this is truly perplexing.

      what's the rationale behind giving them benefits? would they move away if they didn't? unlikely, really.

      • by Dareth (47614) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:58AM (#45472511)

        They are building a space ship so they can "fly away" if the city doesn't cooperate. Read the bloody article!

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @11:31AM (#45472821)

          They are building a space ship so they can "fly away" if the city doesn't cooperate.

          They don't need to fly. They can walk. The next city (Sunnyvale) is about 200 meters from their current headquarters. Both Santa Clara and San Jose are within three miles.

          Apple is in a strong negotiating position. Personally, I think courts should strike down these special tax deals as a violation of the equal protection clause [wikipedia.org]. For the cities, it is a prisoner's dilemma anyway, and they would better off if the practice was made illegal.

          • What does the equal protection clause have anything to do to whether a city can negotiate deals with individuals or corporations?
        • Damn Terrans, always moving their buildings around when the going gets tough!

      • by T.E.D. (34228)

        what's the rationale behind giving them benefits? would they move away if they didn't? unlikely, really

        Exactly. Where else in the USA could they possibly find a lower cost of living?

        Oh yeah, pretty much everywhere. (Median home price? 1.4 mil [trulia.com])

        • Exactly. Where else in the USA could they possibly find a lower cost of living?

          Not really a big consideration. As long as the employees can get to work the company doesn't really need to care much. The company gets tax benefits because if Apple moves out of Cupertino (which they easily could do) then Cupertino gets zero tax revenue and might even lose additional spillover revenues from restaurants, hotels, etc. Last time I checked some revenue is better than no revenue.

      • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by davydagger (2566757) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @11:19AM (#45472721)
        I think its called "tribute". Its an acknowledgement that apple, not the municipal government is the most powerful entity in city, and they call the shots.

        Thats how corporate America works.
      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        they're not going to move cross country, but they could easily build their spaceship in sunnyvale or los altos or anywhere. PA and Menlo Park are pretty full-up right now. I couldn't see them in SF, and the whole city is going to burst from Twitter and others, there's no way they could absorb an Apple campus.

      • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by InsightfulPlusTwo (3416699) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @11:26AM (#45472789)

        A few observations:

        The city is not paying Apple anything; it is actually increasing their tax burden from the formerly reduced state. Thus the article, which says "the residents of Cupertino will pay [Apple] only $4.4 million to stick around" is misleading and deliberately inflammatory.

        The agreement was approved unanimously by the board. They think they are getting a good deal by having the world's largest corporation build a giant, permanent, iconic headquarters there and I agree. Any city in America would be happy to have them. Just think of all the tourists who are going to show up from around the world just to see this new building.

        The city gets a lot of benefits from Apple employees living and working there aside from direct taxation, in terms of personal living expenses and a well-educated populace, as mentioned elsewhere in the article.

        They can always renegotiate the tax breaks later if they really need the money.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          For Apple 4.4 million is nothing. Yes it is going to increase it's tax burden but it's tax burden is still less than many small companies in the city. Think of it this way. How valuable would the PR be for Apple if they said," when Apple was not doing well the city helped us with tax breaks, we are doing great now so we are giving them back to the city."

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

        what's the rationale behind giving them benefits?

        Politics and business is the primary business of politics

      • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Quila (201335) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @11:30AM (#45472811)

        Let's see, the city gets thousands of Apple employees moved in. Construction alone is expected to net the city almost $40 million. And then there are recurring property taxes for a property that will now be worth billions. The city also gets a shabby built-up area converted to something that is 80% landscaped and environmentally friendly.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          yeah, but they would have been paying benefits to apple regardless. what was the rationale behind that?

          point being, it's not really that much money even, but it still is significant amount of money for the city. not for apple, but for the city. so little money that for apples spaceship plans it doesn't make much of difference even, so why the fuck give them a break?

      • It's not just Apple, not by a long shot. Corporate welfare is really out of control, with states like Texas devoting up to 50% of their budgets to it. Many, many corporations pay no taxes, and even receive land grants, and other freebies. As I read the blurb, the thing that amazed me was that Apple was paying taxes at all.

        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/01/us/government-incentives.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]

      • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @12:38PM (#45473437)

        what's the rationale behind giving them benefits? would they move away if they didn't? unlikely, really.

        Apple is Cupertino's largest taxpayer by far.

        In fact, Apple SPECIFICALLY CHOSE the site for their new building - Cupertino had no land available otherwise (it was land from an old Sun/HP campus, IIRC). So Apple had a choice - it could build its new building in Cupertino, or it could put it somewhere else. Cupertino gives Apple a small tax break (they don't give Apple any money - Apple pays more than that amount in taxes to Cupertino annually) as a thank you for being loyal to Cupertino. And it's likely the board sees that the added revenue from employees being there (from construction and all that to the sheer number of extra employees) to more than make up for the loss (after all, those people need to eat, like to frequent bars, etc. and Apple is likely needing to purchase local service to maintain the building and grounds and all that).

        In fact, any large corporation wanting to put down roots can easily negotiate with the host city on benefits. I would expect Redmond to give Microsoft breaks in exchange for being in Redmond (though Microsoft's campus straddles the border, so there's a building that's actually odd because it has to be built to two different building codes as it straddles Redmond and a neighbouring city).

        Likewise, Mountain View probably gives Google a few breaks as well.

        And these cities are all known because of these big companies - anytime anyone mentions Redmond, well, up comes Microsoft. Cupertino has Apple, and Mountain View has Google.

        Apple may not pull up its roots from Cupertino, but they can certainly decide to build in a neighboring city if they have to. The fact they're choosing Cupertino is really a preference for them - being nostalgic and all that. Hell, given all the difficulties Apple encountered, one may wonder if it was worth all that effort to build in Cupertino and not just build it nearby somewhere else.

      • what's the rationale behind giving them benefits? would they move away if they didn't? unlikely, really.

        Actually it would be relatively easy for Apple to relocate. They don't have to go across the country though they probably could if needed. They could just go to the next town over. The rationale is that some tax revenue is better than no tax revenue. Furthermore there is additional tax and income benefit to other local businesses like restaurants, hotels, etc.

    • by RDW (41497) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @11:19AM (#45472715)

      Here in the UK we cut out the middleman, and just buy these flying saucer tech headquarters directly from taxpayers' money:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Communications_Headquarters [wikipedia.org]

      Then they spy on us.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        holy shit what kind of freaky building is that?? If you're business is surreptitious spying, wouldn't you want to keep it on the down low? that place looks like Dr Evil or SCEPTRE works there.

        • no more freaky looking than the pentagon. And when the kids go out to recess they can't be seen from the road.
          • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

            fair enough. they are truly sister agencies. it would be cool if they were on exactly opposite sides of the globe, and there was a secret project to realign the magnetic poles so the magnetic axis passed through both buildings. ...profit!

      • Here in the UK we cut out the middleman, and just buy these flying saucer tech headquarters directly from taxpayers' money:

        You fools! You're supposed to get an extraterrestrial government to pay for flying saucers.

    • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      I don't see you volunteering to pay more taxes, why should Apple? If the city is going to offer it, why in the world would they decline it?
      • More than that, the city is giving Apple less rebates going forward than they are now. Apple is now going to be paying more taxes.

      • by N1AK (864906)
        Apple aren't volunteering to pay more taxes; they are using their size to threaten local government to give them a tax break or face financial collapse if Appele leave. A small business or individual doesn't have the size to get this by threatening so they are forced to pay full tax (which includes making up for Apple's discount). Thus you have an area that is subsidising a massively wealthy company by increased taxation on small businesses.
        • Thus you have an area that is subsidising a massively wealthy company by increased taxation on small businesses.

          And individuals. But don't you know that everyone should bow and scrape before Apple for being so beneficent as to create all those jobs (some of them in the US)?

          • by zieroh (307208)

            Unfortunately, neither of you seem to know jack shit about Cupertino. They have one of (if not the) most enviable school systems in Silicon Valley, which in turn has driven property values through the roof, which in turn generates more money (in the form of property taxes) for the city.

            So how do you think that happened?

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          maybe the government shouldnt put themselves in the position where they are beholden to one company. you cant blame the individual company for doing whats in its best interests.
    • by argStyopa (232550)

      It may be the "right thing" to pay their taxes, but let's face it, they're just walking in Steve's tax-evading footsteps.

      You know, the lease-a-new-car-every-6-months-so-he-never-has-to-get-license-plates Steve Jobs?

      Or the "park in the handicap zones when you want to because you're big shit Steve Jobs" and the cops are unlikely to hassle you?

      http://www.policymic.com/articles/7868/apple-icheat-how-the-world-s-biggest-company-also-became-the-most-unethical [policymic.com]

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:35AM (#45472323)
    Here's a presentation by Steve Jobs [youtube.com] from a couple years ago showing the initial plans for the spaceship campus. According to the video title it's apparently the last recorded Jobs video footage. Good luck to Apple finishing the building during the following years, it's certainly a cool plan.
  • by CajunArson (465943) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:41AM (#45472349) Journal

    Sign that a company is jumping or is about to jump the shark: Build a huge lavish HQ.

    Although, Google didn't mind when SGI did it.. they got a great deal on the real estate.

    • by jchawk (127686)

      If it's mostly glass and steel it's probably not as expensive as you think it is. I work for a fortune 200 company and we just completed a new HQ campus. It looks dramatically more expensive then it really cost to build and makes perfect financial sense given trying to lease the amount of space we needed house all the employees.

      • by dj245 (732906)

        If it's mostly glass and steel it's probably not as expensive as you think it is. I work for a fortune 200 company and we just completed a new HQ campus. It looks dramatically more expensive then it really cost to build and makes perfect financial sense given trying to lease the amount of space we needed house all the employees.

        Does your HQ have straight walls and 90 degree corners? Because this thing is round as can be. There might be some savings in having 1 round wall section be the same as all the other round wall sections, but building curves are dramatically more expensive than noncurved walls.

        • by Dunbal (464142) *
          Not really. The hard part is making the form. Once it's made right - how many sections do you want?
      • by nojayuk (567177) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @11:20AM (#45472731)

        I think the ticket price for the building is about $5 billion, it may rise as the project goes ahead -- there's lots of custom curved glass panels and such involved. With 14,000 workers expected to use the building that works out at about 350,000 dollars each. Office space in Cupertino leases at about $35/sq. ft./year so for the proposed upfront cost they could lease 500 square feet for each employee for twenty years and not have to pay for the structural maintenance, landscaping etc.

        It's a pretty way to use up money, I suppose.

        • Office space in Cupertino leases at about $35/sq. ft./year so for the proposed upfront cost they could lease 500 square feet for each employee for twenty years and not have to pay for the structural maintenance, landscaping etc.

          True. But the lowered cost of leasing comes with the increased costs of having employees scattered all over hell and back.

          • by nojayuk (567177)

            A conventional Todos-Santos style glass brick would cost half the price or less of the current design, be easier to heat and cool, use less ground footprint and it would be more convenient to get around in with elevators, walkways etc. even with the same floor space per drone.

            It's amazing what you can do with other people's money though, isn't it?

            • 1) They are spending money locally instead of banking it off shore. (expect the new CEO to ruin Apple in the same vein of other corps; "investing" money in casino games instead of the real economy.)

              2) You can't just put money into things and expect faster results or new inventions - like it was a linear correlation.

              3) Free advertizing to promote themselves; the whole innovator image thing helps them. That isn't cheap; and it lasts longer than an ad campaign. Plus it may help attract and retain the kind of e

        • Are you sure there is curved glass involved? When is a circle's circumference not a circle? When its drawn in 3D on a computer screen is one perfect example. Long and straight lengths of something can be made to look like anything. The same goes for approximating the area under a curve in calculus, it can be done with lines.
          • by nojayuk (567177)

            Jobs said.... "There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It's all curved. We've used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world 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."

            Excerpted from an International Business Times [ibtimes.com] report on the new building. Ka-ching!

    • by pioneerX (830117)
      One of Parkinson's Laws is that the demise of a corporation follows not long after construction of headquarters.
    • Sign that a company is jumping or is about to jump the shark: Build a huge lavish HQ.

      I get that Apple is sitting on Scrooge McDuck levels of cash and building the new HQ isn't that big of a deal for them.

      What astonishes me is that they have all this cash and they don't seem to be inventing anything new or creating any new markets. That's the bigger sign of distress at the company.

      • "[...]they don't seem to be inventing anything new or creating any new markets."

        Isn't this what people have been saying about Apple for the last 30+ years or so?
        • Isn't this what people have been saying about Apple for the last 30+ years or so?

          People who haven't noticed the iPod or iPhone, I guess. The iPhone was launched, what, seven years ago?

          • And the iPod was launched, what, six or seven years before the iPhone? And we all remember the reaction to it here...

            People nowadays expect Apple to 'invent' something revolutionary every goddamn year and say stuff like "they don't seem to be inventing anything new or creating any new markets". My point is, they weren't that busy with it before either. And they very rarely invent in the proper sense of the word, even though they do innovate.
            • And the iPod was launched, what, six or seven years before the iPhone?

              At a time when Apple was struggling to make a profit, much less being the largest capitalized company in the world.

              And we all remember the reaction to it here...

              Hey, I bought one - I had firewire devices everywhere.

      • What astonishes me is that they have all this cash and they don't seem to be inventing anything new or creating any new markets. That's the bigger sign of distress at the company.

        No new markets? For crying out loud the iPad was released just 3 years ago. That for all practical purposes created the tablet market as we know it today. It's absurd that anyone should really expect Apple to create completely new multi-billion dollar businesses from scratch every year or they are somehow in danger of going out of business. I'm pretty sure you have no idea how difficult it is to productively invest a cash hoard the size of the one Apple has. It's virtually impossible.

        When you get to th

        • I'm pretty sure you have no idea how difficult it is to productively invest a cash hoard the size of the one Apple has. It's virtually impossible.

          Which is why they should be using the money for R&D to bring new products to market - that's where the ROI always is in technology.

          What business do you think Apple should do that is going to generate $14 billion in the next year?

          The only way to grow at that kind of rate is to create new businesses. So, one should expect that Apple would be doing just that, as

    • Why so cynical? I think it looks great, it will likely be talked about for many decades to come, just like Calatrava's designs. As headquarters go, this is impressive.
    • by Macrat (638047)

      Sign that a company is jumping or is about to jump the shark: Build a huge lavish HQ.

      Although, Google didn't mind when SGI did it.. they got a great deal on the real estate.

      Apple actually has revenue and cash in the bank.

      What do you say about a small company like LinkedIn putting up brand new buildings instead of just moving into existing vacant buildings in the area.

  • nothing new (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:48AM (#45472413)

    It is the pentagon, but thinner and with rounded corners.

  • The actual design of the building is beautiful and marvelous.

    But I have to say that the entire design of the campus is a little disappointing. The buildings on campus are completely isolated from the rest of the city of Cupertino. The campus will be separated by a new security wall/fence surrounding the perimeter that will prevent all unauthorized entry, and most of the buildings will be hidden behind substantial landscaping. The plan also demolishes a city street that will disturb local automotive and b

  • ...will be really bad? Other day southbound 280 in Cupertino area had couple accidents so I took Homestead and it was worse. I imagine Stevens Creek was terrible as well. I heard Apple has 10,000 employees scattered about in numerous buildings throughout Cupertino but here they will be gathered in one location. Agg, traffic in that area may be so bad cars will not work, faster to walk.

    But then I remember back in 20th century when HP was ran by Bill and Dave, and those buildings slated for the chute had th

  • I believe Apple should be lauded for trying to build "The best office building in the world".
    If the building comes out as expected, it will be a landmark like the Empire State Building (or the (collapsed) World Trade Center (before it collapsed)).

    Yes, it could all be had cheaper - but OTOH, it's still better than paying out huge bonuses to the execs or buying more corporate jets. There are a thousand ways to waste money. This way, at least the public gets something in return.

  • We call a business complex a "campus", and we call a school a "plant".
    That, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with the country.
  • Many corporations who built a big new headquarters were gone within 5 years. Let's hope at that this does not happen to Apple.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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