Wake County leaders discuss why Apple chose Research Triangle Park

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Friday morning, Wake County leaders discussed why tech-giant Apple chose the Research Triangle Park for its east coast campus.

Apple unveiled in late April that it chose the Triangle for an engineering hub bringing more than $1 billion in investments and creating at least 3,000 jobs in the area.

On Friday, Wake County commissioners crossed into Durham to talk about the development of RTP and the collaboration between county leaders that has helped push the Triangle region forward.

"We have been very intentional with incredible leaders in Wake County and Durham County and across the region, planning and housing, transit and transportation, education and workforce and talent development, all with sensitivity to diversity, equity and inclusivity. When you look at our historical growth trajectory, it aligns with our progress today and we are so very excited that we will be welcoming Apple to RTP in the very near future," said Adrienne Cole of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Matt Calabria, the Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, spoke for about seven minutes, touting the growth of the region and the key components that will continue to result in growth in the coming years.

He says Apple asked questions about things like the state's LGBTQ ordinances, living wage ordinances and the stability of the region.

"They were here last week meeting with us about some logistics, you know, how are we going to get built, what their expectation is, schedule and so they're, they're very interested in dialogue and as you can tell from the investments they're making, they want to be a part of our community and part of the social fabric of our society. It's really they're going to be a terrific partner," said Scott Levitan, CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina.

WATCH: Wake County commissioner explains why Apple chose RTP
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Wake County Commission Chair Matt Calabria talked about how the Triangle is thriving and the next steps in the area's success.

"This is an accumulation of so many great programs and things that have happened here over the last 60 years," said Ryan Combs, executive director of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, who oversees 12 counties and tries to sell the area to the rest of the world. "Everybody is pumped up about these recent announcements but I think in the back of everyone's minds is, 'Can we sustain this type of growth?' Currently, we can."

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The Monday morning announcement establishes the company's first major east coast footprint.

Other companies that have recently made announcements about expansions in RTP include: Lilly, GRAIL, Apiject and Q2 Solutions.

"We are just a network effect that's exactly at the cusp of a breakthrough," said Dr. Arv Malhotra, professor of entrepreneurial education at UNC-Kenan Flagler Business School.

WATCH: Timelapse shows construction of Boxyard RTP
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Timelapse shows construction of Boxyard RTP

Professor Malhotra believes the region is well-positioned for this expansion. However, he also thinks there needs to be more investment in public and private partnerships to build infrastructure.

"Hopefully we've learned from other places not to sacrifice our quality of life and standard of living and being attractive," he said
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