Apple’s massive Jobs-designed future headquarters project is $2B over budget

Apple’s enormous, modern multibillion dollar new headquarters is running behind schedule and way over budget. Bloomberg Businessweek has the details in a story published Thursday about why the Steve Jobs’ dream campus may turn out to be the most expensive — and fussiest — office building in the world.

From gigantic pieces of curved glass produced in Europe and flown to Cupertino, to prefabbed supply closets and bathrooms trucked in, as well as 15 acres of trees to be planted and underground roads, the building looks to reflect Apple’s famous attention to detail. But what was supposed to cost $3 billion is now reportedly approaching $5 billion.

The building will be green and energy efficient, but, Businessweek reports, it’s the “fit and finish” — the extra visual and structural flair — that Jobs’ design calls for that are ballooning the price. Some of the budget-busting stuff stems from typical Jobsian perfectionism: one anecdote involves the decision to bypass the standard (but imperfect) construction method used for concrete ceilings; instead Apple will cast ceiling molds that will be lifted into place, “a far more expensive approach that left one person involved in the project speechless.”

The opening of the building has been delayed two years until 2016 because the company is said to be working to shave a billion off of the budget. But some investors still aren’t pleased; particularly with the idea of Apple spending on a new building when they could be funneling the money (where else?!) back to shareholders. Says one Apple stock owner quoted in the piece:

“It would take some convincing for me to understand why $5 billion is the right number for a project like this,” said Keith Goddard, the chief executive of Tulsa-based Capital Advisors, which owns 30,537 shares of Apple. “This is rubbing salt in the wound, to spend at a level that most anyone would say is extravagant, at a time when they’re being so stingy on dividends.”