“Things change when a spaceship comes to town,” Kathy Chin Leong reports for The New York Times. “Tourists stroll by, whipping out their iPhones to get a photo. New businesses move in. And real estate prices go up even more.”

“Apple’s new home in Cupertino — the centerpiece being a $5 billion, four-story, 2.8 million-square-foot ring that can be seen from space and that locals call the spaceship — is still getting some final touches, and employees have just started to trickle in. The full squadron, about 12,000 people, will arrive in several months,” Leong reports. “But the development of the headquarters, a 175-acre area officially called Apple Park, has already helped transform the surrounding area.”

“In Sunnyvale, a town just across the street, 95 development projects are in the planning stages. The city manager, Deanna J. Santana, said she had never seen such action before,” Leong reports. “City officials and residents say this project is like nothing they’ve seen before. It is even bringing tourists. Onlookers snap pictures of the spaceship from the streets. TV helicopters circle above. Amateur photographers ask residents if they can stand on driveways to operate their drones, hoping to get a closer look at Apple Park. ‘I just say, ‘Hey, go ahead,” said Ron Nielsen, who lives in Birdland, a Sunnyvale neighborhood across the street from the spaceship. ‘Why not?'”

“Sunnyvale and Cupertino, like many other Silicon Valley towns, have had an extended real estate boom, as the tech industry has expanded. Prices in the area really started to rise, real estate agents and residents said, after Apple released its plans,” Leong reports. “A three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,400-square-foot ranch-style house that cost $750,000 in 2011 has doubled in price.”

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MacDailyNews Take: Change happens.

Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future. — Steve Jobs