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Friday, December 04, 2009, 04:50 am PT (07:50 am ET)

Progress made on Apple's potential second Cupertino campus

In the works for years, Apple's new campus in Cupertino, Calif., was finally given preliminary approval this week, potentially paving the way for the company to expand to a new 7.78 acre property.

The Cupertino Planning Commission unanimously voted Monday to rezone the property along Pruneridge Avenue to the category of planned development industrial and residential, according to Los Angeles Daily News. Last April, Apple was unsuccessful in obtaining the same rezoning.

"Some commissioners wanted a more definitive proposal from Apple before rezoning a prime piece of residential land. The new zoning allows for both office and residential use," the report said. "The site, which is south of the Hewlett-Packard campus, houses two office buildings currently occupied by Apple employees."

Apple purchased the property in 2006, but at that point it had been previously rezoned by the city to clear the way for a 130-acre condominium project. Michael Foulkes with Apple denied to the Daily News that Apple intends to build a campus on the site. Right now, he said, the company is just trying to assess its options.

But the 7.78 acre property is one of a number the company purchased with the original intent of building a 50-acre campus.

In 2006, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs himself appeared at a Cupertino City Council meeting and explained that his company's growth has forced it to expand to buildings that are far away from the Apple campus.

"What's happened at Apple is that our business has basically tripled in the last five or six years," Jobs said more than three years ago to the council. "And what that's meant, is that our headcount in Cupertino has dramatically expanded."

Jobs said, at the time, that Apple planned to level the buildings located on the 50-acre lot to form what would eventually become the company's second home, about a mile away from its current headquarters. In 2006, it was said that it would take three to four years to design and build the campus, which would house 3,000 to 3,500 employees.

Since that meeting, though, the plans have fallen behind schedule, as Apple failed to gain the necessary approvals to move forward. But this week's approval would seem to suggest the new campus is once again a possibility.