Apple’s donut-shaped headquarters in Cupertino, California, has been valued at $4.17bn, according to a new assessment this week – making it one of the most expensive buildings in the world.
David Ginsborg, deputy assessor of Santa Clara county, where Cupertino is located, said that the unconventional 2.8 million-square-foot property was a challenge to evaluate.
“I mean, every bit of it is custom,” he said. The intricately-designed ring – which incorporates treated glass, and specially designed tiles – is surrounded by pines from the Mojave Desert. “But at the end of the day, it’s an office building,” Ginsborg said. “And so we were able to put a number on it.”
The headquarters cost $5bn to construct. By contrast, the world’s tallest building – the Burj Kalifa in Dubai – cost $1.5bn. The Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore cost about $5.5bn. Usually, the market value of a building is similar to the cost of its construction plus the land it occupies, said Santa Clara county assessor Larry Stone.
The company is required to pay about 1% in property tax, per California law. Based on the valuation by Santa Clara county, Apple will owe over $40m in property taxes each year in California.
But critics have argued that the amount – a tiny fraction of the company’s revenue – does not offset its contribution to the housing crisis and homelessness.
The largest chunk of it – about 25% – helps fund the local elementary school. An additional 15% funds the local fire fighting services. The city of Cupertino directly receives 6% for discretionary spending. As part of its Apple Park development agreement, the company paid $5.85m into an affordable housing fund. It also invested $75m to improve infrastructure and ease traffic in several nearby cities.
Moreover, Apple benefits from a tax-incentive deal with the city of Cupertino, which has given almost $70m in sales-tax collections back to the company over the past 20 years, Bloomberg reported.
Apple is the largest property taxpayer in the county, according to Stone. “And of course, they’re a major employer – so that’s another benefit to the county.”