Apple unveils $1B investment to build east coast hub in Research Triangle

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Apple unveils $1B investment to build east coast hub in RTP
The Monday morning announcement establishes the company's first major east coast footprint.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (WTVD) -- Big news for North Carolina -- Apple unveiled plans to build a campus and engineering hub in the Research Triangle, committing more than $1 billion in investments and creating at least 3,000 new jobs for the area.

The Monday morning announcement establishes the company's first major east coast footprint, and its first entirely new U.S. campus in more than 20 years--Apple chose to expand its campus in Austin, Texas, instead of its North Carolina presence in 2018. Cooper said, "I believe this project is much more transformational than the expansion we would have gotten in 2018."

The hub will bring plenty of jobs to the local technology industry including machine learning, artificial intelligence, software engineering and "other cutting edge fields."

When completed, Apple said its investments will generate more than $1.5 billion in annual economic benefits for North Carolina.

"As a North Carolina native, I'm thrilled Apple is expanding and creating new long-term job opportunities in the community I grew up in," said Jeff Williams, Apple's Chief Operating Officer. "We're proud that this new investment will also be supporting education and critical infrastructure projects across the state. Apple has been a part of North Carolina for nearly two decades, and we're looking forward to continuing to grow and a bright future ahead."

Hiring for the new campus is expected to begin immediately, according to an Apple spokesperson. The company plans to lease local office space to accommodate new workers until construction on the 1,000,000 square foot campus is complete on land secured by Apple in Wake County near RTP.

"Even in a pandemic, North Carolina has been on a run with 10 companies and thousands of new jobs in both rural and urban North Carolina announced within just the last two months. Well it's about to be 11 and this may be the biggest of them all," Gov. Roy Cooper said.

WATCH: State leaders explain why Apple's investment is such a big deal

Gov. Roy Cooper and other state leaders joined forces to talk about the major Apple announcement.

The average salary for the new jobs Apple will create in North Carolina will be $185,000 per year.

"North Carolina is a place where cutting-edge ideas are born and everyone can find a place to succeed," Cooper said.

"There's no question North Carolina is the best state in the country to live, work and do business," President pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate Phil Berger said. "There's a reason this transformative project isn't happening somewhere else."

Mike Walden, an economist with NC State, said he expects the 3,000 Apple jobs to double when you count the ancillary jobs that will be created around the Apple campus and the new high-income earners.

"This is just an amazing investment amazing catch for the Triangle for North Carolina," Walden said.

WATCH: NC State economist on Apple's major impact in NC

NC State economist Michael Walden says North Carolina will be the future for the economy in the country.

Machelle Sanders, the North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, says she will be helping ensure Apple prioritizes diversity and inclusion.

"The marginalized communities need to be lifted, need to be part of and consideration of economic development and they need to feed the pipeline of the workforce of companies create," she said.

"We're delighted that Apple chose Wake County as the site for its newest research and development campus," said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Matt Calabria. "An investment of this magnitude is transformational for our community, bringing great jobs and long-term economic benefits. It also proves that we have the right combination of talent and innovation to attract industry-leading companies who want an exceptional quality of life for their employees."

Governor Roy Cooper and the state Commerce Department have been negotiating with the company on tax incentives to land the new campus. An Apple spokesperson confirms the company is accepting Job Development and Investment Grants (JDIG) for the project. The total is unspecified at this hour.

"At this moment of recovery and rebuilding, Apple is doubling down on our commitment to US innovation and manufacturing with a generational investment reaching communities across all 50 states," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, wrote in a statement. "We're creating jobs in cutting-edge fields - from 5G to silicon engineering to artificial intelligence - investing in the next generation of innovative new businesses, and in all our work, building toward a greener and more equitable future."

Apple's announcement comes as the company plans to invest more than $430 billion and add 20,000 new jobs across the United States in the next five years.

$100 Million Dollar Infrastructure Fund

Apple says it will also establish a $100 million fund to support schools and community initiatives in the Raleigh-Durham area and across the state. There will also be an over $110 million investment to fund infrastructure going toward broadband, roads and bridges, and public schools, in the 80 North Carolina counties with the greatest need.

The investments are expected to generate $1.5 billion in economic benefits annually for the state.

Breaking down the economic impact of the Apple announcement

NC State Professor of Economy Mike Walden explains the impact to North Carolina.

"By 2029, Apple's investment and job creation is expected to generate at least $1.5 billion annually for the state of North Carolina," said Dr. John Connaughton, UNC Charlotte's Belk College of Business.

Apple's Racial Justice and Equity Initiative

Apple's move into the Triangle brings it closer to the students of color the company has made recent strides to empower through racial justice efforts. Late last year, the company announced a $100 million dollar initiative to help dismantle systemic barriers and promote racial equality for people of color. Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh partnered with the tech company for a first-of-its-kind education hub for historically Black colleges and universities based in Atlanta. Monday's announcement has the potential to bring that partnership much closer to home.

"Our region (Triangle Area of North Carolina) is bursting with creative, innovative and problem-solving partnership opportunities between Apple and Saint Augustine's University," said SAU President Christine Johnson McPhail. "We are excited about the opportunity to become a hub to build the capacity to promote pathways for more of our students and community residents to enter the STEM workforce."

Apple news could have effect on housing market: If you want to buy or sell a home, Triangle Realtor says 'do it now'

With 1,100 current employees in North Carolina, Apple's hub in RTP will more than triple the company's Tar Heel state footprint.

"The Research Triangle Park was the 2nd research park in the world and remains one of the largest and most successful. Transformational events have occurred during RTP's 61-year history; Apple's decision to undertake a leadership role in our community certain. "The Research Triangle Foundation of NC, founder and administrator of Research Triangle Park, celebrates Apple's decision to become a leader among our 310 companies."

Apple doubles down on U.S. presence

The company announced Monday it's bolstering a previously announced investment by an additional 20% and adding another 20,000 new jobs.

The company said that its investment -- now increased to $430 billion -- comes as its contributions have "significantly outpaced" its original 2018 commitment of $350 billion to new facilities and the creation of 20,000 jobs. The fresh investment stretches across 9,000 companies in all 50 US states, supporting new technology, including 5G and silicon engineering.

Apple said that the 20,000 new jobs -- in addition to the 20,000 jobs Apple previously committed -- will be added over the next five years. They will be in Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, New York, California and other states. The company had 147,000 employees as of September 2020.

Apple also pointed out that it's the "largest taxpayer" in the United States, paying more than $45 billion in domestic corporate income taxes in just the past five years. That topic has become a flashpoint for major corporations as the White House considers raising taxes on them for the first time in more than 25 years.

Notably, Apple's massive investment comes as its suppliers making similar proclamations are flailing. Last week, Foxconn's plan for a massive electronics factory in Wisconsin has largely flatlined. The pledged investment of up to $10 billion to create as many as 13,000 jobs is not coming. Rather, it's creating fewer than 1,500 jobs and incentives package now totals only $80 million.

CNN Wire contributed to this report.