All Eyes on Apple’s Plans for San Jose After City Council Signs Off on Huge Development Deal
San Jose’s city council members on Tuesday lavished praise on Apple Inc. as they welcomed Silicon Valley’s most valuable tech company to Silicon Valley’s largest city — a milestone that comes decades after Apple first flirted with building a San Jose headquarters.
“We’re thrilled to have thousands of your employees in San Jose, hopefully shortening the commute for many,” Mayor Sam Liccardo told Apple executives in the audience. “This has been a long time coming.”
His comments came before the council unanimously approved a development agreement that allows Apple up to 15 years to build a maximum of 4.15 million square feet of space — ranging from industrial to R&D to office — on an 86-acre site in North San Jose. The vote was a foregone conclusion, as the city has been eagerly courting the company for years.
But just what Apple plans to do there is still being ironed out, said Kristina Raspe, senior director of real estate and development for Apple.
“The opportunity to purchase this site came very quickly to Apple,” she said in response to a question from councilman Donald Rocha about the site’s ultimate use. “It was something we jumped on without a firm plan. We’re still studying the site to determine the best use for us. At this point, it looks like it will be office and R&D.”
Those comments were the most Apple has actually said about how the tech giant is approaching the project. And despite the lack of detail, officials called it a game changer for the city, which has been working to attract new corporate tenants for years as a way to shed its bedroom-community status and generate more revenue. On Tuesday, they used the opportunity to signal that San Jose has the welcome mat out for growth, as other Silicon Valley cities clamp down over concerns about traffic and overdevelopment.
If completely built out as office space, 4.15 million square feet could support 16,000 employees — though corporate space utilization depends on many factors, and R&D often uses fewer employees per square foot.
“This is a really exciting day,” Vice Mayor Rose Herrera said. “It’s great news for the city and we’re excited to have Apple have such a great presence. San Jose’s open for business, and we’re going to work really hard to make sure Apple gets what it needs to expand.”