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Spaceship Apple campus runs $2 billion over budget

Someone should have warned Steve Jobs that spaceships are expensive to build. Apple's second home, a 176-acre "spaceship-like" campus slated for a 2016 opening, is apparently about $2 billion over budget.

The late CEO appealed to the Cupertino City Council in June 2011, outlining plans to expand its footprint with a 3.1 million square foot, circular structure to hold the 12,000 employees currently scattered at Infinite Loop and throughout the city in rented buildings.

Jobs planned for a sub-$3 billion budget, but since his death, Apple Campus 2 has ballooned to almost $5 billion in costs, Bloomberg reported, citing a number of people close to the project. The hush-hush structure's growing price tag has far surpassed the $3.9 billion being spent on New York's new World Trade Center complex.

Before Jobs's death, he'd planned to break ground in 2012, and move into the new building by the end of 2015. In November, the company revealed that it won't complete its environmental impact report until June, which delays construction until 2014. Employees likely won't enter the campus until 2016.

Cupertino has reportedly been working to slim its unwieldy budget, though. According to Bloomberg, the company has been working with lead architect Foster + Partners to cut $1 billion before moving forward.

People familiar with the project told Bloomberg that Apple will begin tearing down the 26 buildings on the new campus site this summer; excavating the area will take six months of round-the-clock work. Subcontractors will begin submitting their bids next month.

The massive price tag seems overreaching for most, but as Bloomberg pointed out — $1 billion is less than one per cent of Apple's $137 billion in cash reserves.

And the company did its due diligence last year by informing its neighbours about what's in store for their future. A brochure by Cupertino talked up the transportation options provided to Apple employees — shuttles, bike shares, carpooling, walking — which will reduce vehicular traffic.

Additionally, the four-story Apple Campus 2 will be outfitted with a restaurant, fitness centre, and other amenities, reducing the need for employees to leave during the day.