Apple 'spaceship' open house miffs neighbors who didn't get invites

Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News on

Published in Business News

CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Apple attempted to extend a little friendly goodwill by inviting neighbors to its "spaceship" campus this weekend, but the gesture backfired among some residents who live close to the campus and are upset they didn't get one of the coveted invites.

Apple recently mailed cards to some people living in the neighborhoods around its new Apple Park campus in Cupertino, inviting them to come to an open house in the iconic building Saturday. But after the event was publicized, neighbors started complaining they were left out -- including some who live blocks from the campus.

Many complained that because of their close proximity, they had to endure constant disruptions to their daily lives while the $5 billion, 2.8-million-square-foot "spaceship" was being built. Even after the building was finished in 2017, traffic congestion has persisted thanks to the massive amount of people coming and going from the campus, some neighbors said.

"After all the disturbance from Wolfe Road and Homestead Road, and the narrowing and the noise and helicopters and drones that fly overtop and they take pictures, or people come and visit, it would be nice to see what it's all about," said 63-year-old Mary Sullivan, who lives in Sunnyvale's Raynor Park neighborhood, about a mile from the campus.

The invite-only open house promises attendees a chance to "explore and enjoy Apple Park in a relaxed setting," and encourages guests to bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots.

The webpage for the event, accessible via a QR code found in the invitations, says the open house is for "our neighbors." It doesn't make clear how close a resident must live to qualify as a neighbor.


Apple says the company invited its closest Apple Park neighbors, as well as some community members who were early supporters of the project. But the company would not provide more specific details about how invitees were chosen, or comment on how many people were invited.

While Sullivan in Raynor Park didn't get an invite, others in Birdland -- one block closer to Apple Park -- did. But not everyone in Birdland, which borders the campus, was invited.

"I feel terrible about it," 67-year-old SJane Spangler, who has lived in Birdland since 1978 and put up with disruption from Apple Park construction, said about not getting an invitation. "I endured everything. I was all for it -- it has increased the value of my home. But I watched everything. I struggled to get to work on time because of it. And it just doesn't seem right."

While Apple Park was under construction, workers closed down parts of busy Wolfe road periodically, turning traffic in the area into a nightmare, neighbors said. Today, the campus, designed to hold more than 12,000 people, brings so much traffic to the area that neighbors have to avoid certain roads altogether, going out of their way to take round-about routes, they say.


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