Apple’s upcoming spaceship campus, which Steve Jobs presented to the Cupertino City Council back in 2011, always seemed rooted in fantasy. The lavish 2.8 million square foot circular building was pitched to accommodate 12,000 employees, stand four stories tall and cost under $3 billion. But according to a report from Bloomberg, the company’s dream office is facing setbacks, and might not wind up mirroring Jobs’s initial vision.
Five people familiar with the situation say the budget could surpass $5 billion, and a total completion date isn’t expected until 2016, a year later than earlier predictions. Apple will still break ground for the new complex in June of this year, but negotiations and agreements are putting the final move-in date in jeopardy. Excavating the site will take 6 months alone, and that’s with a continuous stream of trucks coming in and out all hours of the day.
Apple is apparently trying to shave $1 billion off before proceeding with the project, but the scope—curved glass, underground tunnels and roads, 6,000 new trees—is making that very difficult. The company does have $137 billion in cash reserves, but putting those billions to a dream office doesn’t seem like a solid investment for many investors. And, in particular, as Apple shares continue to fall with the competition rising, Apple’s focus is being called into question.
What’s more, Bloomberg highlights a supposed “campus curse” around the Silicon Valley. Fortunes of companies such as Silicon Graphics, Borland Software and Sun Microsystems all tanked after opening sweet new office spaces. Still, Tim Cook wants to see Jobs’ plans through, even if that means Apple doesn’t follow plans down to the very last crossed T and dotted I. It might not be the spaceship office from the future, but it’ll probably be better than anything you or I have, or will, set foot in.
Apple, of course, has bigger fish to fry with WWDC coming up, and the fact that competition from outside the iOS and OS X universe is getting better than ever. So while the dream campus is shrouded in mystery, hopefully the company will emerge this summer with a revamped mobile experience, and even better mobile devices.