DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's something about the Triangle that tech companies love.
On Monday, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, confirmed to ABC11 and our news partner The News & Observer it has office space at the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham.
Meta spokesperson Ryan Daniels told the News & Observer their plan is to have about 100 enterprise engineers working in that office space.
Meta joins other large tech companies like Microsoft, and Google that all have offices in the Triangle.
Ryan Combs, executive director of Research Triangle Regional Partnership, a 13-county regional economic development organization, said he believes the secret sauce is homegrown and university talent; it has to do with the way the state has invested in education -- for example, NC State, Duke, and North Carolina A&T State, which graduates more engineers than any other HBCU in the state.
"This is a great place to live, a low cost of living, great place to save money, kids that were leaving 10-15 years ago are now figuring out this is a great place to be," Combs said. "I think we've done a great job as a state of understanding what companies are looking for, what they need and providing the kind of workforce to handle the types of jobs coming here. "It is an attractive place to be in terms of cost of living, in finding a job and high quality of life."
Nicole Thompson, the President & CEO of Downtown Durham Inc., which focuses on ways to enhance and promote downtown Durham. knows they have to work on other recruitment efforts for restaurants and other places that make the place what it is. She said big companies are interested in trying to work on solutions for affordable housing and coming in to help the community.
She said Durham keeps transitioning and is now evolving into a life sciences and technology hub.
"It's a place that doesn't matter who you are, it's open to everybody, you can be who you are and we have a very eclectic mix of businesses," Thompson said. "There is not really an easy answer but ... we do need them. They are important to this wonderful economy and the wonderful community we have in the downtown area."
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Dan Ariely, a Duke professor, came to the Triangle for his Ph.D. but also spent a decade in Boston.
"In Boston, there's lots of interesting things happening there, so a community was never created. Basically, everybody did their own thing. Here more people show up for more specific things," Ariely said. "I think there's a feeling that it's not too big, that we have to take care of ourselves and we do that. If somebody needed help, if somebody opened a business, if somebody wanted to do something, people around will help and that's a special feeling."
It's not all rosy, however -- most big tech companies, including Meta, have announced major layoffs in the past six months.
Tech layoffs 2023: Companies that have made cuts
In November 2022, economist Christian Lundblad called the layoffs a "short run," as multiple factors contribute to the layoffs, including what's going on in the U.S. economy.
WATCH | Tech layoff affects a 'short run,' in NC, economist says
During that interview, Lundblad said the Triangle area is still an attractive one to tech companies. Firms that are struggling to find the talent they need can find them in North Carolina, which Lundblad said he believes won't change anytime soon.
"Not only is this a great place to live and work but there's a lot of smart people here and a lot of exciting things to think about in terms of the medium run."
New development continues as numerous Triangle downtown offices remain empty
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