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January 08, 2016

Apple campus in north San Jose gets key endorsement from city planners

San Jose Mercury News

George Avalos

SAN JOSE -- The huge campus that Apple is planning in north San Jose that could bring 16,000 or more jobs to that part of Silicon Valley has landed a key endorsement from city staffers.

"This project further demonstrates the confidence of tech leaders in San Jose's future as a global innovation center," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said Friday. "We look forward to supporting Apple's long-term growth here."

San Jose planners have recommended that the city's Planning Commission and the San Jose City Council each support a development agreement between Apple and the city of San Jose for creation of the 86-acre campus, which currently consists of vacant land and some existing office complexes.

"This project will further promote north San Jose as an employment center," the city planners stated in their recommendation to the planning commission and the city council. "Apple is a major driving-industry employer in the region."

Under the newly recommended development plan, the campus could consist of 4.15 million square feet. Apple would have up to 15 years to add buildings to the site.

"To have somebody of the caliber of Apple to come in and build new products in San Jose will be great for the region," said Chad Leiker, a vice president with Kidder Mathews, a commercial real estate brokerage.

The future Apple campus is located on the north side of U.S. 101 near the 101-87 interchange and stretches along Charcot Avenue to North First Street.

Roughly 16,000 to 20,000 Apple employees could worth at the north San Jose campus site if it's fully developed. Those estimates are derived from typical calculations for use of office space.

Despite Apple's huge growth plans for north San Jose, Cupertino will remain the headquarters and primary operational and administrative focus for Apple.

"As we continue to grow, we're planning to build R&D facilities and some additional office space in San Jose," Apple said Friday. "The property isn't far from the future home of our new campus."

The tech titan is currently constructing a huge spaceship-shaped headquarters campus in Cupertino, a short distance from its existing head offices on Infinite Loop.

Although the site is mostly empty land, it contains an existing 287,000-square-foot office complex once occupied by Atmel, a tech firm. In addition, a six-story office and research building totaling 199,000 square feet is under construction.

San Jose officials also have crafted the new development agreement to provide certainty for Apple that future building expansions on the site can proceed smoothly throughout the course of the 15 years in the pact.

Mayor Liccardo said that "many months" of work went into the creation of the development agreement.

"This provides assurances to Apple that upon approval of any necessary reserved discretionary approvals, Apple may proceed with future development" the city planners stated.

Apple's future campus also will fill up and bring life to what's been a noticeably vacant piece of property visible from 101 and 87.

"This is an area that the city has wanted to see developed for quite some time," Leiker said.

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