Thursday 24 August 2017

New Apple HQ has 11,000 car spaces for 14,000 staff

Apple CEO Tim Cook shows an image of the company’s new HQ in Cupertino, California, which is due to open later this month
Apple CEO Tim Cook shows an image of the company’s new HQ in Cupertino, California, which is due to open later this month

Bloomberg

Apple employees are moving into their new campus - called Apple Park - in Cupertino, California, this month.

The campus is striking to see up close or in drone flyover videos - it's a giant property that will accommodate about 14,000 employees, starring a massive circular building in the middle of a 175-acre space that will eventually be covered in trees.

But as much new office space as Apple is building for its new 'spaceship' campus, it actually built more square footage at Apple Park for employees to park their cars.

This stunning factoid comes from a recent story in The Economist looking at the negative externalities associated with free parking: for 14,000 workers, Apple is building almost 11,000 parking spaces.

Many cars will be tucked under the main building, but most will cram into two enormous garages to the south. Tot up all the parking spaces and the lanes and ramps that will allow cars to reach them, and it is clear that Apple is allocating a vast area to stationary vehicles.

In all, the new headquarters will contain 318,000 sq m (3.4m sq ft) of offices and laboratories. The car parks will occupy 325,000 sq m (3.5m sq ft).

The Economist points out that Apple was required by Cupertino city law to provide ample parking when building its new headquarters

Companies building offices are required to provide a parking analysis to illustrate "enough parking is available to meet the parking requirements".

One guide on the Cupertino website indicates that one new parking space is required for every 26 sq m of office space.

Apple has done a lot to mitigate the visual and traffic effects of all these cars.

Most of Apple Park's parking will be underground, beneath the campus, aside from two massive above-ground parking garages near the highway.

Apple also has a programme that gives thousands of employees free transport to and from work on shuttle buses, reducing the number of cars on the road.

The campus will also be equipped with free bikes, and there will be a new transit facility for easy access to buses on one corner of the project.

At least 28pc of employees at Apple Park will commute in some way other than one person in one car, The Mercury News reported last February.

Still, Apple's neighbours are worried about Apple Park's traffic impact.

But the site's parking may or may not have lasting effects. Apple is investing lots of resources into developing self-driving cars, along with many of its suburban Silicon Valley neighbours, including Alphabet and Tesla.

One of the promises of autonomous vehicles, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, is that when a car drives itself, instead of parking during the day, it can continue to give rides to other people, and its owner will be able to summon it "from pretty much anywhere".

It's unclear whether a car that doesn't need to park for long periods of time is part of Apple's incipient and secret automotive roadmap. And there's no real timeline for this technology - this level of autonomy might not be ready to hit our roads for decades.

But if it does, and Apple plays a major part in the self-driving car revolution, what will it do with all of the parking at its headquarters?

Getting to and from work at Apple's planned new offices at London's Battersea Power Station should thankfully prove to be a more environmentally friendly proposition for the company and its employees. Work is currently under way on tunnelling for the Northern Line extension to London's Underground system and is expected to be operational in 2020, at the same time as the restored power station and new riverside park open to the public. Apple is set to become the massive development's largest single tenant the following year, with 1,400 of its existing London employees relocating there.

Apple's new London campus will occupy approximately 46,400 sq m (500,000 sq ft) across six floors of the central boiler house inside Battersea, accounting for some 40pc of the total office space within the development.

The transaction, which is understood to be the largest office letting in London's wider West End in the last 20 years, was recognised last week at the annual property awards of the UK's Property Week as the 'Deal of the Year'.

Battersea Power Station has planning consent for over 790,000 sq m (8.5m sq ft) of space, which is split approximately 50:50 between commercial uses and residential.

Central to the development is the historic Sir Giles Gilbert Scott-designed Battersea Power Station, a Grade 2 listed former coal-fired power station that is being restored in consultation with Historic England and will include the Apple office accommodation.

The vast structure - the largest brick building in Europe - will include 186,000 sq m (2m sq ft) of new space designed by architects WilkinsonEyre and also includes 253 new homes. To the north of the power station will be a six-acre public riverside park, and to the south will be a piazza-style town square designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) known as Malaysia Square, which links to the Electric Boulevard and the new London Underground station located at the development.

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