back to article Steve Jobs' 'spaceship' threatened by massive cost overruns

It appears that the late Steve Jobs' dream of new "spaceship" Apple headquarters is going to cost far more than the $3bn originally planned – that is, if it gets built at all. That price tag has ballooned to $5bn, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing "five people close to the project who were not authorized to speak on the …

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Well, they could use...

...some of the old HP buildings on the site.

Then again, while they are thinking, they could make a nice patch of grass in the meantime (after they take down all the buildings that are already there, and rip up the parking lots.

Just an idea.

p.s. I had a house a couple of blocks away from the site at one time.

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Re: Well, they could use...

p.s. I had a house a couple of blocks away from the site at one time.

Used to live in the area (just other side of Stevens Creek) too when I was in "silcon valley" for 3 years from 1998. Remember one day getting back from work and my wife telling me that there'd been lots of traffic a few blocks down of Stevens Creek and that something had been going on at De Anza college ... turned out from the newspapers the next day that Steve Jobs was launching the first product since he'd come back to Apple and it was something called an iMac.

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Anonymous Coward

Stop describing it as circular.

It's actually a square; it just has *very* rounded corners.

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Go

The cost doesn't matter

There is something really awe inspiring about those "crazy idea" types building.

It's only private money being used here, no taxpayer was hurt during the build, and it's not like Apple is bleeding cash anyway.

I hope they build it, just to inspire the next generation of architects.

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Re: The cost doesn't matter

Yep, and the loudest voices complaining are the shareholders who STILL aren't going to get any dividends.

Fuck 'em.

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Holmes

Re: The cost doesn't matter

If the shareholders say no, then it's no.

It's their building.

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Re: The cost doesn't matter

Indeed the opposite is true: the more money Apple disperse to building contractors and suppliers that would otherwise have stayed inert in a bank somewhere, the more money ends up in the tax pot. So given Apple's cash reserves I also think they should build as complicated a building as possible.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The cost doesn't matter

But the property taxes will eventually eat Apple alive. But I guess much of the office space will be leased at premium prices.

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Holmes

Re: The cost doesn't matter

If the cost didn't matter, Apple would spend the same $5 billion to give its hourly employees and foreign factory workers a substantial cost-of-living increase.

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Re: The cost doesn't matter (@Andy Prough)

That'd be only if the cost didn't matter _and_ the prestige of having a fancy building didn't matter. What's going on here is that the latter has been judged hugely to outweigh the former.

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Stop

Re: The cost doesn't matter (@Andy Prough)

>"That'd be only if the cost didn't matter _and_ the prestige of having a fancy building didn't matter. What's going on here is that the latter has been judged hugely to outweigh the former."

Is it "cost vs prestige"? Or is it "prestige vs giving every hourly wage chump in your sweatshops an extra buck an hour"?

Or maybe the company could consider paying more than an average tax rate of 9.8% (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/business/apples-tax-strategy-aims-at-low-tax-states-and-nations.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

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Trollface

Re: The cost doesn't matter

"It's only private money being used here, no taxpayer was hurt during the build..."

Uhhh, can you prove this? I wouldn't be surprised at all if there was remarkable "tax incentives" attached to this. Companies just don't throw a dart at a board in choosing physical presence.

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Anonymous Coward

They could always scale it down to the size of an "iSpaceship S".

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Headmaster

No, they keep the very rounded-corner shape, make it float in the ocean and fill it with Foxsconn slaves.

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Pint

If naming convention applies, a "iSpaceship Mini" or "Nano", shurely?

Pints!

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If they want to save costs

they should offshore the build to Foxconn.

Mind you, they'd have an interesting job shipping it through customs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If they want to save costs

Fly it

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Anonymous Coward

How many times has corporate buildings been a sign the company is about to die. ControlData in Minneapolis and the original Cray in Eagan are part of my CV.

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Devil

My thoughts exactly....

It's like computing wise, aside from what they already have on the market, and how civilisation is collapsing, into cutting off your neighbours heads and eating them, what has Apple Inc. got to sell the sheeple, that can convince the delusionists that the end is not really nigh, if you buy their latest shiny, shiny distractions?

Repackage the same old shit in a different way?

Or create something marvelous that is injectable, spices into the replicable gene sequences, brings immortality, and can raise the brains quantum computing power by a magnitude of a trillion or something....

Otherwise it's the same old power sucking shit, in a different package.

US / world economy collapsing not withstanding.

And life goes on, only not as we know it, or expected it.

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@AC21:24

Seems you may experienced the Skyscraper Index

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyscraper_Index

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Anonymous Coward

Looks suspiciously like ...

a hardon collider - presumably to warp space-time allowing His Stevieness to return to his adoring supplicants.

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Thumb Up

Re: Looks suspiciously like ...

Thumbs up for typo.

(It was a typo right?)

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Re: Looks suspiciously like ...

I thought this latest picture made it look like a lost bicycle wheel.

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Happy

Brobdingnagian!

Please correct the typo. I had a hard time understanding what you meant.

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Anonymous Coward

Wow. Proof that suffering vast cost overruns and slippages can happen to private-sector companies too, and not something exclusively endemic to governments.

The new correlation seems to be "having lots of other peoples money to play with". Whether thats billions of shareholders money, or billions of taxpayers money...

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Pirate

$385k per occupant?

Is that what they pay to keep the in-house engineers, or patent lawyers?

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Cheese? It could be worse....

"although Apple may have hit a pair out of the park with its iPhone and iPad, Samsung and others are now tossing hard cheese at Tim Cook's head."

It's better than if they were throwing their feces at him, after all, even if it would appropriate considering that the building itself is perhaps just a bit too reminiscent of a toilet bowl...

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Devil

Re: Cheese? It could be worse....

It reminds me of a giant bulls eye target.

The sort that would make for an excellent high altitude dive into it - within the structural loadings of the airframe.

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Re: Cheese? It could be worse....

Except that hitting the 'bullseye' would completely miss the building.

A trap for clueless terrorists?

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Anonymous Coward

rules change

IF it's not the cheapest way to build something then surely they can't build it, after all we are constantly told that companies have a duty to maximise shareholders profits when they are avoiding tax or screwing the public over.

Or is it one of those flexible rules that seem to only apply when it's convenient, the "we'd like to do this, but gee we can't" and by the way the dog eat my homework type of rule

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Re: rules change

So long as they don't screw up the access to Ranch99 Chinese Market on Wolfe+Homestead whilst they're building it I'm good.

It'll make the house prices go up anyway :-).

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Re: rules change

Apparently part of the cost is to get the building as energy-efficient as possible. If the upfront cost is higher but it costs next-to-nothing to run, surely it's a win in the long run.

In my student days I had a summer job at a brewery*. They had just built a new process block that did not require any cooling even though local temperatures went up to 40 celcius, it relied on relatively low-tech stuff - a very thick concrete ceiling to trap heat during the day and release during the night, and an automatic system of opening / closing windows for ventilation (no fans / forcing required).

This was 15 years ago tech, I'm sure Apple will have a lot better available. With the possibility of generating power from rooftop solar and doing clever things with glass surfaces and blinds I'm sure they could cover all their heating / cooling needs + basic lighting with no ongoing cost outside of maintenance of the systems. On the other hand, considering average utility cost of office buildings in US is $1.51 per sq foot (source EIA http://www.eia.gov/emeu/consumptionbriefs/cbecs/pbawebsite/office/office_howuseenergy.htm), on a 2.8 million sq ft building they would save $4.2 million a year, peanuts if the extra cost is running into 9 or 10 digit number.

* unfortunately, they did not allow samples in the office. Even more unfortunately, the stench of the brewing process put me off beer for a couple of months

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You can tell Jobs is gone

He'd just have pushed on, got on with it and built the worlds best Office building. Now cook is in charge theyll compromise and compromise until it's utter crap. And still over budget.

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Sil

Too much cash

Apple already sits on a pile of cash which by any financial standard is wasteful and would be better given back to shareholders, invested in short term Financial instruments or else.

A building while not necessarily the best return is a better investment than piles of cash sleeping under a mattress and will probably contribute to employee satisfaction as well as reinforce fanbois/customers association of Apple and exclusivity/design/uniqueness.

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Facepalm

Building and dividends...

I just have two short and to-the-point points:

a) Straight up, that building looks virtually useless in terms of being an office building. Even if the goal was to involve all that green space in the middle (and clearly it is), a big square would enclose *more* space. I'm for function over form though, not that I want my buildings utilitarian and ugly but in this case the form seems to reduce the function considerably. Apple has always been more form over function, so this building would reflect that, and they have the money so they should be able to build whatever they'd like.

b) That said, Apple has NEVER given out significant dividends. Investors are IMHO stupid for buying all this Apple stock, then bitching that they aren't getting dividends. Guess what, if you buy stock from a company that doesn't do dividends, YOU DON'T GET DIVIDENDS.

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Coat

Re: Building and dividends...

But it has to be round. You can't take a 90o corner at 88MPH!

The one with the spare flux capacitor in the pocket, thanks.

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Re: Building and dividends...

+1

But of course, what you need to take into account is that they bought Apple stock not for dividend returns, but for capital growth. Now that it looks like they have lost that bet, they are clamouring for the divvies. They want their cake and to eat it too.

Thing is, a lot of them already had their cake and missed their chance to eat it because they were greedily waiting for it to grow even bigger on the plate. Tough titties to them I say.

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Re: Building and dividends...

Automan could. :)

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Headmaster

@Henry Wertz - geometry fail

"a big square would enclose *more* space."

If by "big square" you mean a square into which the circle would fit, of course it would enclose more space, that's trivially true. It would also enclose more space if they had a bigger circle, or indeed a bigger triangle.

On the other hand, for a given size of building (taking the inner edge and assuming a constant buidling 'width'), then a circle is the shape that will enclose the most area inside.

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Honestly

2.8 million square foot doughnut? FFSMS the least you could do is include translation into proper units! I've even done it for you, it's 12.5 MicroWales and the inner courtyard is 4.74 MicroWales. Much better and when put that way $5B doesn't sound like quite so much for a d'oh-nut. Of course this doesn't count the two basement levels or the voids on the three levels above the 259 NanoWales restaurant but pobody's nerfect.

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Re: Honestly

Honestly, isn't it time to give it a well earned rest with these ridiculous "pseudo-units".

Meaningless shite most of the time.

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Re: Honestly

No

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Happy

Re: Honestly

Area=1 iDonut

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Just like the rest of the product line...

...it's flashy, over-priced, features rather odd design choices and is really of no use to anyone who needs something practical. Given that the original design was to use the central space to house Jobs' ego, I think they could easily shrink it now, and rejig the whole thing to resemble the excellence of their products.

I'm thinking a large cube on stilts, with a big hole in the top for ventilation...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just like the rest of the product line...

The large donut hole in the middle is for throwing shareholders' money into, big enough for ALL of it.

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Joke

That is Steve...

... sending the World a Goatse!

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Round buildings don't work

The furniture doesn't fit...

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Trollface

Re: Round buildings don't work

That's why it's over-budget : they suddenly realized they needed curved furniture !

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It costs about $386k per occupant. Too many greens for this green building, as it regulary goes with green project. A nice job, with many green jobs, Steve Jobs.

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Anonymous Coward

How on earth is it costing them that much to build? GCHQ's building, which is a SUSPICIOUSLY SIMILAR shape, houses about 1/3 the number of workers, but has some very specialist requirements (you've never seen such shiny windows). That was a government project but cost a mere £250m to build. $5b? Someone's taking the piss.

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