Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs unveiled his plans for a new company campus with a circular design he likened to a spaceship that will accommodate 12,000 employees.

Jobs showed designs for the building at a city council meeting yesterday in Cupertino, California, a video of which was posted online. The facility would be built a few blocks from Apple’s current headquarters on land the company bought from Hewlett-Packard Co

The new building would help Apple accommodate a staff base that’s growing as demand surges for the company’s computers and smartphones. The plans shown at the council meeting include a curved glass building with a large courtyard in the middle. A parking lot will be constructed underneath the facility, allowing 80 percent of the site to be landscaping.

“It’s a little like a spaceship landed,” Jobs said of the design. “We’ve seen these office parks with lots of buildings and they get pretty boring pretty fast, so we’d like to do something better than that.”

Apple plans to break ground next year and move in by 2015, Jobs said. He told the city council that the company’s headquarters now only holds about 2,800 people, and that Apple has been renting office space nearby to accommodate more workers.

‘Out of Space’

The plans demonstrate Apple’s growth. The company’s profits have more than quadrupled since the 2007 introduction of the iPhone, helping make Apple the world’s largest technology company by market value. The shares fell 14 cents to $331.90 at 1:42 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading today.

“Apple’s growing like a weed,” Jobs said. “It’s clear that we need to build a new campus. We’re just out of space.”

The planned 3.1-million-square-foot campus will have features such as a large auditorium for presentations and a fitness center, Jobs said. Apple also is considering generating its own power on-site from natural gas, and using the general power grid as a backup, Jobs said.

Jobs, appearing a day after introducing Apple’s new iCloud service at a conference in San Francisco, said the land for the building is of special significance to him because it’s where he worked for Hewlett-Packard when he was young.

Largest Taxpayer

Jobs, who has been on medical leave since January, was asked by a city council member what benefit residents of Cupertino will see from the new building.

“We’re the largest taxpayer in Cupertino, so we’d like to continue to stay here and pay taxes,” Jobs said. Without a new campus, Apple may have to move to another city, such as Mountain View, California, where Google Inc. is based, Jobs said.

“The largest tax base would go away,” he said. “That wouldn’t be good for Cupertino and that wouldn’t be good for us either.”

He was also asked whether Apple would provide the town with free Wi-Fi Internet access.

“I’m a simpleton,” Jobs said. “I’ve always had this view that we pay taxes and the city should do those things. If we can get out of paying taxes, I’d be glad to put up Wi-Fi.”

Jobs said the company hired some of the best architects in the world to design the building.

“I think we do have a shot at building the best office building in the world,” he said. “I really do think architecture students will come here to see this. I think it could be that good.”

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