How much is Apple’s spaceship headquarters worth? Now we have the answer

Apple Park campus. Courtesy of Apple

Apple Park is one of the world’s most valuable buildings – and now we know exactly how much it’s worth. 

New figures released this week show the tech giant’s circular headquarters in Cupertino was assessed at US$3.6bil (RM14.80bil) by Santa Clara County for property tax purposes. The valuation doesn’t perfectly coincide with its market value – how much it would sell for – but is based off a detailed appraisal of the building, which opened in 2017. 

If you include computers, furniture and even farm equipment to take care of the property’s trees, the figure rises to US$4.17bil (RM17.15bil) for the fiscal year that ended in June, the assessor’s office said. 

Beyond its giant 2.8 million-square-foot size, Apple Park’s high-end materials, abundant glass and intricate design make it a standout in Silicon Valley, home to some of the world’s most valuable real estate. 

"Every component in that building was custom," said David Ginsborg, Santa Clara County deputy assessor. 

Apple Park is among the world’s dozen most expensive buildings, despite its relatively modest four-story height. 

America’s tallest spire, the 1,776-foot One World Trade Centre in New York, cost US$3.9bil (RM16.04bil) to build, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the building, and is 3.5 million square feet. Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands resort reportedly topped US$5bil (RM20.56bil) in costs, while Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor exceeded US$6bil (RM24.67bil). 

Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca is home to two of the valuable buildings: the US$15bil (RM61.69bil) Abraj Al Bait Towers and US$100bil (RM411.30bil) Great Mosque of Mecca. 

Apple Park was assessed at more than twice the amount of Salesforce Tower, San Francisco’s tallest building, which was valued at US$1.7bil (RM6.99bil) by San Francisco. Salesforce Tower has about half as much office space as Apple Park, despite being 57 stories taller. 

With property taxes around 1%, Apple would owe around US$40mil (RM164.52mil) annually. 

The building is a manageable expense for Apple’s profit machine. In its most recent quarter, Apple reported US$58bil (RM238.55bil) in revenue and US$11.5bil (RM47.29bil) in net income. 

Apple could also appeal the valuation and seek a lower bill, which it has previously done for other buildings. Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

Apple was Santa Clara County’s largest property taxpayer for the 2017-18 fiscal year, with US$56mil (RM230.32mil) in taxes, Ginsborg said. PG&E and Google were the next highest. More recent figures weren’t immediately available. 

The biggest sale of property in New York City, long the centre of high-priced American real estate, was US$2.8bil (RM11.51bil) for the GM Building at 767 Fifth Ave. in 2007. Coincidentally, that tower is connected to an Apple store with a famous glass cube, though it’s been closed for renovations. 

New York’s second-biggest deal came last year and also has a tech company connection: Google paid US$2.5bil (RM10.28bil) for Chelsea Market, a shopping and office centre on Manhattan’s West Side. 

Apple Park is less than half the size of the massive Pentagon, the headquarters of the US military in Arlington, Virginia, which sprawls across 6.5 million square feet. 

But unlike Apple, the US Department of Defence doesn’t pay taxes. – The San Francisco Chronicle/Tribune News Service


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