While the company initially expected to break ground on its new circular-shaped headquarters in Cupertino in 2013 and open for business by 2015, its latest plans show a more probable move-in date of mid-2016.
The latest plans submitted by Apple show no major changes to the vision that then-CEO Steve Jobs first laid out before the City Council in June 2011, four months before he died. Apple submitted changes that will let it complete the project without having to truck out any dirt, and it also wants to move a free-standing, 1,000-seat auditorium farther away from one of the surrounding roads than initially envisioned.
"This is not a surprise to us at all," incoming Mayor Orrin Mahoney told this newspaper on Wednesday. "We've been working closely with Apple, where they recently changed their internal management of the project, and these kinds of revisions are pretty routine. But all the main elements of the design are still there, including the curved glass and spaceship design."
Delays and tweaks are a standard part of the planning process for a new project, especially one of this size, said Mahoney, who thinks it's still possible that the development will reach the city council for a vote by the end of 2013.
"You have to remember that this is a huge project for Cupertino, and it's probably the biggest project in Silicon Valley, too," he said.
Plans for the building -- a single loop, four-stories high and sprawled across 180 acres that Apple has scooped up since 2006 just north of Interstate 280 -- now call for enough room to house as many as 14,200 employees, up from the original number of 12,000 that Jobs gave the council in his presentation. It's being designed by famed British architect Sir Norman Foster.
Apple did not immediately comment on reports of the delay.
Cupertino's new city manager, David Brandt, told Bloomberg News that the city may not complete its environmental impact report until June, and Apple may not be able to start work until 2014.
"They could conceivably break ground in 2013, but only if everything goes smoothly," Brandt said. That depends on the City Council approving the project quickly, and on residents not filing legal challenges. "The project is running a little bit slow."
Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689; follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc.