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Apple plans to build a new off-campus restaurant and recreation facility for employees to provide a place for discussion “without fear of competition sort of overhearing their conversations.” Mercury Newreported today a planning request for the building that the Cupertino Planning Commission approved. (via TNW)

The new facility will feature 70 parking spaces, even though it is located within walking/biking distance from the main campus. The 21,468-square-foot space will not just be a cafeteria; it will also house a courtyard, meeting rooms, and recreation areas. Unlike Apple’s current on-site Caffe Macs restaurant, the new building will not be open to visitors signed in by Apple employees.

Apple’s Director of Real Estate Facilities Dan Whisenhunt explained the reasoning behind building the new cafeteria:

“We like to provide a level of security so that people and employees can feel comfortable talking about their business, their research and whatever project they’re engineering without fear of competition sort of overhearing their conversations.

That is a real issue today in Cupertino because we’ve got other companies here in our same business.”

The images above from the Cupertino Council website show the location where Apple plans to construct the new building. According to the reports, the new cafeteria will likely be a short-term project for Apple, because the construction of its new Spaceship headquarters will also house cafeterias and recreation areas.