Goodbye, Old HP Campus / Hello, New Apple Campus

Photo by Ron Cervi
Photo by Ron Cervi

An aerial photo of the old Hewlett-Packard (HP) campus at Wolfe Road and Homestead Road in Cupertino shows that it is no more after being demolished and scraped off the earth to make way for the new Apple campus. I don’t know if this was the same campus that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak worked at from 1973 to 1977, designing HP calculators during the day and the Apple I computer at night. If so, besides being the largest parcel of land available in Cupertino, this could be why Apple co-founder Steve Jobs chose this location.

I never worked for HP, but I did have a job interview there in March 2011 (made memorable by a shooting near my apartment). The HP campus was a ghost town after being purchased by Apple in 2010. The surrounding parking lots were vacant at mid-day. The 1970’s interiors had gone to seed many years before: multiple shades of brown, worn carpets and bad lighting. A very depressing environment for the few people still worked there. As desperate as I was for a job back then, I’m glad someone else got that desktop support job.

When my friend and I recently drove over to Vallco Shopping Mall to see a movie at the AMC Cupertino 16, we noticed a new sign in the parking garage that Vallco was now a Westfield shopping mall. A curious development. Vallco had a string of owners in the last two decades who didn’t know what to do with the empty shopping center. I found no mention on the Internet as to why Westfield would own another shopping mall a few miles down the street from their more successful Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose.

The one thing that Westfield does extremely well is revitalizing old malls. With two-thirds of the mall vacant and blocked off from foot traffic, and limited parking space surrounding the outside of the mall, Westfield can’t double the size of the mall by building a parallel wing as it did with Valley Fair Mall and Oakridge Mall. With Apple’s new campus down the street, and a mixed development building with small stores on the ground floor and apartments on top being built across the street, the right selection of stores could draw in future foot traffic.