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Apple hopes for quick start on new campus to meet 2016 deadline

Apple and the city of Cupertino, Calif., took a moment to catch their breath this week after a 2.5-year process culminated in the unanimous approval of the company's new headquarters. 

But they're only pausing for a moment. Because now comes the really hard part: Building Apple Campus 2. 

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"We can't wait to get our people closer together," said Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer this week at a press conference. "We're a very collaborative company."

Oppenheimer said the company would occupy the building in a "little over three years."

Based on Oppenheimer's remarks, the company will be cutting it close to hit its deadline of 2016. Apple had already pushed the completion date back once from 2015.

As part of its official process, the city council is required to hold a second reading and vote on Nov. 19. Oppenheimer said the company is asking the city council to move up that date so it can hold a groundbreaking ceremony as quickly as possible. 

When asked about a date for the groundbreaking, Oppenheimer said: "We hope very soon. We hope before the end of the year."

Once ground is broken, Apple will have to remove thousands of trees and tear down 26 buildings to clear the land for construction. It has to excavate a large hole under the land for underground parking. 

And then, of course, it has to build the spaceship building. 

When it's done, Oppenheimer said it will be worth every penny, though he declined to say what the price tag is expected to be. 

By the time the new campus is done, however, Apple will likely already have outgrown it. 

Apple 2 Campus will eventually have room for 14,200 employees. But according to an economic impact report released by Apple earlier this year, the company estimates it will hire an additional 7,400 employees locally by 2016, bringing its total local employment to 23,400.

As a result, at least for now, Apple is also planning to keep its current headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop. Its headquarters for the past two decades holds about 3,000 people.   

"In a little over three years when we occupy the new campus, we'll see where we are in terms of total space needs," Oppenheimer said. "We will continue to occupy our current campus just down the street and many other buildings in Cupertino, and we'll see what our needs are beyond that in three years." 

But for now, the company is just excited to be moving forward on creating a campus it hopes will be home for decades to come.

"We have the best team in the industry," Oppenheimer said. "And we're very excited about what we have in our product pipeline. We think we are going to surprise and delight our customers."

Asked about how Steve Jobs would be feeling after the vote Tuesday, Oppenheimer said: 

"I think Steve would be very proud today. Steve loved Apple. And he started Apple in Cupertino. So all of us at Apple are putting tremendous love and energy into this project just like Steve did. And we are humbled by the task of completing it."

Also: 

Verizon reports flat iPhone activations despite launch of 5s and 5c 

T-Mobile CEO hints at iPad that would work with his carrier's service

Microsoft's Windows 8.1 upgrade adds more multitasking, customizing

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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