Apple Park boosting local economy with property boom, influx of shoppers

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The construction of Apple's new headquarters is helping improve the fortunes of those living close to the Cupertino campus, including increases in development projects, attempts by businesses to anticipate the influx of Apple employees to the area, and increased real estate prices as some of the benefits stemming from Apple Park's creation.

The campus, which includes its signature 2.8 million square foot ring-shaped building, will pay host to around 12,000 Apple employees when it is fully operational. This influx of people has prompted action by businesses to capitalize on the situation, with a report from The New York Times highlighting the incoming local improvements as the campus heads towards completion.

Approximately 95 development projects are being planned for Sunnyvale, a nearby town to Apple Park, activity that city manager Deanna J Santana told the report she had not seen before. In Cupertino, one Main Street "living and dining complex" opened in early 2016, but will expand this year with the introduction of the downtown enclave The Lofts, a community consisting of 120 apartments, shops, and restaurants.

The Residence Inn in Main Street Cupertino is also customizing its service for Apple employees and the firm's partners. The guest facilities will be upgraded with Mac desktops and high-speed connections to the Internet, after Sand Hill Hotel Management consulted with Apple about the needs of its employees.

"All the things we have, lined up with what they needed," said Sand Hill partner Mark Lynn. "They will represent a large part of our business."

The report does go into some detail about Apple's dealings with the local community, both from the positive and negative aspects. Apple hosted more than 110 community gatherings during the design phase of the campus, including publishing community mailers five times to 26,000 households about what to expect during the construction period.

One notable debate concerned Homestead Road, a thoroughfare between Apple Park and the Birdland neighborhood, with Cupertino officials planning to construct a tree-lined median to calm traffic on the road, with Apple offering to cover the construction costs. Local homeowners objected to the move, suggesting its creation would eliminate one lane and make traffic worse, a claim eventually agreed upon by the city after a Sunnyvale town meeting.

During the construction residents of Birdland complained about the early-morning construction rigs traveling along the streets, with road closures, green sheeted barriers, and potholes causing issues for the community. Dan Whisenhunt, Apple VP of real estate and development, advised the company attempted to answer every complaint received, "and if the issue is serious enough, I will personally visit to see what is going on."

One example is the complaint from one resident that her car was covered with dust from the construction. Apple responded by sending carwash certificates to clean the vehicle.

Despite the issues, homeowners have benefited from the extended real estate boom, with prices increasing 15 to 20 percent year after year since Apple announced its construction project, with local real estate agent Art Maryon advising bidders are typically offering 20 to 25 percent over the asking price for properties. Some residents have taken advantage of these increases, selling to Apple employees at a high price and moving to a quieter area, but those staying are anticipating increased traffic and parking issues when the Apple employees move in.

One thing residents will probably look forward to will be the reduction in tourists, wanting to photograph the buildings while they still can. Apple has planted 9,000 trees within the campus, which will block the view of the buildings to passers by.

Once the man-made forest has grown, the public will be provided access to a small part of the campus in a dedicated visitors center.