AC3: Apple's insatiable appetite for office space devours Wolfe Campus, hungry for more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 26
Apple Park's sprawling "Campus 2" remained a center of media attention ever since plans for the "Spaceship" Ring nestled in acres of trees first gained approval back in 2013. However, a parallel third campus site just up Wolfe Road has more quietly progressed with less notoriety, despite being a remarkable project of its own.


Wolfe Campus in bloom


Last year, we reported that work on AC3 ("Apple Campus 3," now known as Wolfe Campus) was nearing completion. This year, the site is occupied and carries the typical Apple signage used at its various other office locations.





From Wolfe Road, looking east


Located in Sunnyvale, California at the corner of the Central Expressway and Wolfe Road, Apple's freshly built third campus is about 4 miles (6 km, or a ten minute drive) from either Apple Park or the company's original 1 Infinite Loop campus, both of which lie within the city limits of the adjacent city of Cupertino.

Wolfe Road is the west boundary of Apple Park. When driving north from there, the first view of Apple's third major California campus (shown above), is one of its three rounded lobes peeking over the top of the Central Expressway (below).





The view from Wolfe Road, just past the Central Expressway


Wolfe Campus was originally speculatively designed as new LEED Platinum office space by HOK architects, around the time that Apple began work on Apple Park. We noted that Apple was planning to lease the building, and it is now clear that the company took over the entire project

The Wolfe Campus, as viewed from the air (below), includes three interconnected donut-shaped buildings (Wolfe 1-3) that each stack four stories of open floor office space above two and a half levels of parking, as well as a separate smaller Wolfe 4 building and a large Wolfe 5 parking structure.






The podium of parking creates an opaque wall facing the outside, which is slowly being grown over with vines and park-like landscaping. That podium also dramatically lifts the glass walls of office space into the air, making the curved lines of the building more visible to outsiders than the much larger Spaceship at Apple Park, which is recessed behind an earth embankment and the foliage of many large, mature trees.

The exterior public sidewalks stream through landscaping that includes some mature trees that were preserved during construction, as well as flowering bushes and drought tolerant grasses.


View from E Arques Ave, looking south


At Apple Park, even from the rooftop lookout of the Apple Park Visitor Center, it's difficult to see much more than an outline of the Spaceship Ring. But the glassy curves of Apple's third campus are far more prominent to passersby, even if it's just as difficult to actually see inside.

Hiding within each "doughnut hole" of the three-lobed main buildings is an interior mini park similar in concept to the very large green space at the center of Apple Park's Spaceship Ring. The three sections surround a larger open area that faces ground level amenities that include an Apple Fitness Center gym and an Apple Wellness Center clinic. Both are the third instance of these; there are also a pair of the facilities at Apple Park and across from 1 Infinite Loop.

Apple's expanding employee count

The company's Job Creation website highlights its explosive growth over the past two decades, most of which sparked around the launch of iPhone. In 2006, Steve Jobs first addressed the Cupertino city council with expansion plans for a new campus. He noted at the time that "we've rented every scrap of building we could find in Cupertino," and that Apple was already operating "in 30 other buildings now," outside of the six buildings of its 1 Infinite Loop campus.


Apple's employee count has exploded, especially over the last decade


In 2010, a much larger site adjacent to the area Apple planned to build on fortuitously opened up when Hewlett Packard decided to move out of its Pruneridge offices, enabling the iPhone maker to snatch up a very large contiguous parcel in the middle of Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, Apple's need for new office space continued to grow dramatically, inducing Apple to snatch up other nearby smaller offices, as well as fast-tracking and expanding its Phase 2 plans for Apple Park, the leasing of the AC3 Wolfe buildings, and other newly-built properties south of Apple Park.

Within the Bay Area, Apple also operates a data center in Fremont, does something mysterious with a chip fab it acquired in San Jose next to a prominent Samsung office building, and reportedly works to test health-related devices and evaluate automotive technologies from various other unmarked, secret locations referred to as "high-security buildings." These are often shrouded in layers of obfuscated ownership to avoid corporate espionage or drawing any attention to the company's various unannounced projects and initiatives.

Even larger NorCal office plans for Apple

Despite all that growth, Apple continues to hire new office workers and has continued to expand its options for building even larger offices. Last year, Apple announced that it "expects to invest over $30 billion in capital expenditures in the U.S. over the next five years and create over 20,000 new jobs through hiring at existing campuses and opening a new one," indicating that it has plans to expand outside of its two primary operations facility campuses in Austin, Texas, and Cupertino, California by 2022.

At the time, that sparked a comparison to Amazon's nationwide competition for a locating its HQ2 headquarters, but it could also be a reference to the massive new campus site Apple has already lined up the rights to build on in northern San Jose, about 10 miles (16km, or a 15-20 minute drive) northeast of Apple Park.

That 85 acres of land, located next to the San Jose airport, was stealthily assembled from a series of purchases much like the original site of Apple Park. It includes the former headquarters of chip maker Atmel Corp (pictured below). The entity that owned the land, Ellis Partners, filed paperwork to rename its Amtel Way cul-de-sac to the more Apple-friendly "Orchard Place."

Apple San Jose
Located next to the San Jose airport, Apple has virtually all the land you can see left of the highway. It's already permitted for massive development.


The majority of that property is currently vacant land directly adjacent to San Jose's light rail system, which connects it to Apple's nearby chip fab to the north, or south to the airport and downtown San Jose, where Apple has been hosting its annual Worldwide Developer Conference since moving it there from San Francisco two years ago.

Apple has approvals to build 4.15 million square feet of office space on the site--the potential for new R&D offices nearly 1.5 times that of the recently completed Spaceship at Apple Park--over the next fifteen years.

Apple's billion dollar plans for rapid U.S. expansion

Pretty clearly, Apple doesn't just see itself as retiring into a plateau of selling increasingly fewer iPhones while merely sinking into the role of being another Netflix. Apple is certainly expanding into new Services, but is also building entirely new hardware businesses centered around its acquisition of Beats-- which helped to launch AirPods, HomePod, and Apple Music as well as the current lineup of Beats' wireless speakers, headphones and related accessories.

However, nearby its LA-vicinity Beats offices in Culver City, California, Apple reportedly acquired a four-story project at 8777 Washington Boulevard that was initially slated to become HBO's new headquarters, indicating that Services are not a small push either. Apple also reportedly operates a games studio in Irvine.

The company is also expanding its footprint in silicon design, including a GPU design center in Melbourne, Florida and what appears to be a baseband modem design center for 1,200 employees in San Diego, California next door to its frenemy Qualcomm.

And near Apple's existing 39-acre campus in Austin, Texas known as the Americas Operations Center, the company announced in December that it would be spending $1 billion to build another new facility for engineering, research, and customer support in Austin.

That 133-acre project will initially house 5,000 new employees and ultimately 15,000 people, along with 50 acres of preserved open space. Together with Apple's existing 6,200 employees, the expansion is expected to make the company the largest private employer in the Texas capital.

Over the next three years, Apple stated it is also planning to expand its workforce in Seattle, joining San Diego and Culver City to become peripheral Apple operations with over 1,000 employees each. It also intends to expand existing facilities in Boulder, Colo., Portland, Ore., Boston, New York, and Pittsburgh.


Apple's projected US employment by 2022. Source: Apple


Apple currently employs 90,000 people across all 50 of the United States, including 6,000 who were added over the last year. Those new hires are part of a five-year plan to add 20,000 jobs in America and contribute $350 billion to the economy.

Apple also announced plans to invest $10 billion in its iCloud data centers across the U.S. over the next five years. Apple's existing data centers (that mostly house racks of servers, maintained by relatively few actual workers) are located in Maiden, North Carolina; Reno, Nevada; Prineville, Oregon; and Newark, California. The company plans to situate a new facility in Waukee, Iowa.

Apple also operates a green, $2 billion global command iCloud operations site for its data centers in Mesa, Arizona, on the site of its scuttled effort to fabricate sapphire panels with GT Advanced Technologies.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    FatmanFatman Posts: 291member
    They need to open an office in NYC! Tremendous talent out East and no earth quakes, fires, mudslides.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    rfrmacrfrmac Posts: 88member
    What do all these people do?  Seems the bigger Apple gets, the less innovative the company is becoming.
    sirozhadougd
  • Reply 3 of 16
    rfrmac said:
    What do all these people do?  Seems the bigger Apple gets, the less innovative the company is becoming.
    Most of the work required to run a company.  Grunt work.  ← That's not derogatory.  There are millions of small things that actually make a company run.  Most of it not sexy, all of it important.  
    racerhomie3chasmminicoffee
  • Reply 4 of 16
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 340member
    Too many Apple employees on the California fault lines. 
    edited April 26
  • Reply 5 of 16
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,100member
    Fatman said:
    They need to open an office in NYC! Tremendous talent out East and no earth quakes, fires, mudslides.
    City of AOC . No thanks. I thought she said NYC has enough jobs.
    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Fatman said:
    They need to open an office in NYC! Tremendous talent out East and no earth quakes, fires, mudslides.
    City of AOC . No thanks. I thought she said NYC has enough jobs.
    Heh, I hear Wisconsin might have some space. :D
    cornchipstompy
  • Reply 7 of 16
    In the spirit of Rfrmac and all the other trolls who live on this site:

    I knew this was a DED article the second I read the title.


  • Reply 8 of 16
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 551member
    rfrmac said:
    What do all these people do?  Seems the bigger Apple gets, the less innovative the company is becoming.
    They march in parades. 
  • Reply 9 of 16
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,313member
    great article. I somehow totally missed the Wolfe building. Or totally forgot.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,447member
    Fatman said:
    They need to open an office in NYC! Tremendous talent out East and no earth quakes, fires, mudslides.
    City of AOC . No thanks. I thought she said NYC has enough jobs.
    I disagreed with those who opposed the Amazon deal because Amazon was promising 25,000 $150,000 jobs ($3.75 billion in annual salaries which could potentially generate $21 billion annually in economic activity), plus land for a new school (although I think they should have donated the school building as well), but in Cortez's defense, it's absolutely ridiculous that the State and City had to give $3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives to one of the most profitable corporations in the world - one which just announced a record quarter and yet, didn't pay any Federal income taxes last year.   

    There is absolutely NO new housing being built for lower-income or middle-income people in NYC (unless you consider an $800,000 2-bedroom apartment in the outer boroughs to be something the middle-class could afford), so residents of LIC, which is already highly gentrified, feared they would be pushed out, valid fear or not.

    In Coney Island, about as far from the core of the city as one can get, a 3-bedroom apartment in a 53-year-old building in desperate need of renovation goes for $630K if it needs to be shelled and rebuilt and $800,000 if it's already renovated.  Those same apartments rented for $210 a month (including gas, electricity, parking and a swimming pool) when the building opened in 1966 ($1680 per month in current dollars) under a State program that gave tax breaks to developers who built for the middle-class.  Unfortunately, the State later let the developers buy their way out of the program. 

    While Cortez was vocal about opposing the Amazon deal, it's not in her district and she had little power to stop it.   Her district is the East Bronx (of which about a third is park land) and Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside and Steinway in Queens.  I notice you're not complaining about the white, male, non-Hispanic LIC congressman who actually was the far bigger factor in stopping the deal.

    Amazon is also an easy company to hate - a company that has a reputation for treating its warehouse employees quite badly and being anti-union (although this facility was not a warehouse) and a company that has all but destroyed physical retail of book and record stores (although high rents didn't help either).

    As for Apple, I also don't get what they need 80,000 U.S. employees for.   They don't have a particularly large line of products and the updates to those products, which aside from the iPhone, aren't on an aggressive schedule and are largely incremental.    Their quality control seems to be declining and I'm seeing more bugs and new incompatibilities in MacOS updates than I've ever seen before.   So what the hell is everyone doing?   If Apple has been secretly working on A.I. and Robotics and has a ton of employees dedicated to that, then fine, but it's not like we're seeing Apple develop totally new product lines (aside from HomePod, which seems like a bust) or seeing products with tons of innovation.   When Apple's TV ads of last year had to emphasize "stickies" - cartoon characters that you could incorporate into texts, you know something is drastically wrong.   

      
    samrodSoli
  • Reply 11 of 16
    dougddougd Posts: 251member
    Fatman said:
    They need to open an office in NYC! Tremendous talent out East and no earth quakes, fires, mudslides.
    City of AOC . No thanks. I thought she said NYC has enough jobs.

    Idiotic comment

    Soli
  • Reply 12 of 16
    kenckenc Posts: 186member
    rfrmac said:
    What do all these people do?  Seems the bigger Apple gets, the less innovative the company is becoming.
    Do? Presumably, a large portion are retail. Look at the NYC dot, it's about 500-1000. Given all the AppleStores in the area, that would account for almost all of that.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 551member
    kenc said:
    rfrmac said:
    What do all these people do?  Seems the bigger Apple gets, the less innovative the company is becoming.
    Do? Presumably, a large portion are retail. Look at the NYC dot, it's about 500-1000. Given all the AppleStores in the area, that would account for almost all of that.
    Retail? All of these buildings described here are retail? What are they selling there?

    Maybe Apple has finally gotten into the marijuana market, and those are research facilities and greenhouses for the Apple dope. 
    edited April 26
  • Reply 14 of 16
    zoetmb said:
    Fatman said:
    They need to open an office in NYC! Tremendous talent out East and no earth quakes, fires, mudslides.
    City of AOC . No thanks. I thought she said NYC has enough jobs.
    I disagreed with those who opposed the Amazon deal because Amazon was promising 25,000 $150,000 jobs ($3.75 billion in annual salaries which could potentially generate $21 billion annually in economic activity), plus land for a new school (although I think they should have donated the school building as well), but in Cortez's defense, it's absolutely ridiculous that the State and City had to give $3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives to one of the most profitable corporations in the world - one which just announced a record quarter and yet, didn't pay any Federal income taxes last year.   

    ...

    While Cortez was vocal about opposing the Amazon deal, it's not in her district and she had little power to stop it.   Her district is the East Bronx (of which about a third is park land) and Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside and Steinway in Queens.  I notice you're not complaining about the white, male, non-Hispanic LIC congressman who actually was the far bigger factor in stopping the deal.

    ....

      
    Aside from the criticisms of Apple, which I culled from your post, there are a few disagreements I have with your post:
    First is the statement of the "paying no Federal Taxes" like it's something wrong.  We all pay the least amount we possibly can, as evidenced by Turbo Tax, H&R Block, Jackson Hewett, and the rest that I can't name all promising the "Largest Possible Refund!" in the preceding 3 1/2 months.  Furthermore, the fact that they'd be having $3.75B in salaries indicates that Amazon will be paying Federal Income Taxes (and State and Local Taxes) on the salaries they provide.  I do admit it's twisted logic, but then again, they're being paid from Amazon through their employees.  Having $3B in tax breaks is a bit of an opportunity cost, and I'm not about to say that no one will be in those locations where Amazon would have been building, but if the companies that occupy that space don't have $3.75B in payroll, then the State is still losing money (in the long run) by not having Amazon there.

    Rep. Cortez has very little operational control over her district, and this is more of a philosophical debate than a practical one.  When the citizens of her district send her there to represent them in Congress, she's operating at a higher level than the "who does what" in the district, which is more at the mayoral level than the House level.  The thought of "She brings home the bacon" for the district is the great fear that the Founders had, where once the members of the House realize they can buy votes with the Treasury, the limits on their moral restraints will be tested.  Instituting the Senate as a second House of Representatives merely made that much easier.

    I hope I have disagreed without being disagreeable, which seems to be a hallmark of this site (the non-disagreeable part) that I tend to enjoy here.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Not sure Apple had a lot to do with the development of the project, though the designer HOK seemed to have picked up elements of Apple Campus building design.

    http://centralandwolfe.com/#1
    edited April 26
  • Reply 16 of 16
    I’m assuming posts that question the need for so many employees, have not worked in a large corporate office that’s growing.

    The medium size tech corporation where I work is growing and the increasing head count amazes me.  Every department is increasing as we anticipate future needs and taking the time to train personnel.  To protect different data silos, there are many duplicate teams that support specific customers, markets or products.

    I truly appreciate the structure supporting Apple and glad it benefits The US economy. 
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