Apple’s billion-dollar Austin campus nearly finished, move-in date set

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Apple says employees will move to its $1 billion campus in north Austin next year.

In a news release Monday, the tech giant said it’s investing $430 billion across the country and adding 20,000 jobs nationwide over the next five years. The completion of the Austin campus falls in the scope of the company’s massive expansion.

Apple broke ground on its new north Austin campus in 2019. The sprawling 133-acre campus will initially have 5,000 employees and will provide a wide variety of engineering, research and development, operations, finance, sales and customer support jobs.

Apple opened its first office in Austin more than 25 years ago, the company said. Its existing campus is on Parmer Lane, and the new one is being built adjacent to it.

“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,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “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 says Texas will benefit from its multi-billion dollar investment in silicon engineering and 5G technology.

Apple is building another $1 billion campus, its first on the East Coast, in North Carolina.

Fulfilling Central Texas Obligations

Williamson County outlined a number of expecations when striking a deal with Apple in 2018.

The company would need to invest $400 million in the new facility, create at least 4,000 jobs and solve traffic concerns on Parmer Lane associated with the project. Judge Bill Gravell says, so far, Apple is on track to fulfill all promises.

“I expect them to not only live up to their word, but to exceed their word,” Gravell said.

The judge said that the campus blueprint is actually larger than initially estimated. He equates that to more jobs created than Apple’s initial 5,000 projection. It’s led to an accelerated housing and construction boom in the area.

“Our folks are building and the community is growing,” Gravell said. “Between Tesla and Apple and the residential construction that is going on and the construction on the new Dell Children’s Hospital in Williamson County, it is tough having enough labor.”

This is all good news further South, too. The Austin Chamber of Commerce expects this to bring both middle to high skilled laborers out of pandemic unemployment.

“In a 2020 that was rough on almost everyone and a 2021 that is getting off to a slow start, this is really good news to hear that this project is still on track and that it will offer so many opportunities for our local talent,” said chamber President and CEO Laura Huffman. “Our position as a high-tech hub continues to grow. And that’s just good news for everyone in Central Texas.”

Apple has also begun the process of helping young, local talent prepare for the grand opening. As part of it’s Community Education Initiative, a partnership with Austin Community College and local high schools, Apple has more than two dozen students in the tech pipeline, learning software coding and app development.

Linda Smarzik, the Dean of Computer Science and Information Technology at Austin Community College said the tech giant has been a willing and helpful partner.

“They have been good with us every step of the way, from providing us an Apple fellow, to providing us equipment, to training our teachers, to training teachers from the high schools,” Smarzik said. “These students are passionate, they learn as best as they can so they can more into some place like Apple.”

Of course, Apple is getting something back in this deal, too. Williamson County will pay back 65 percent of it’s property taxes to Apple over the next 15 years.

Williamson County officials say Apple has not yet sought tax rebates under the agreement and won’t be eligible to do so until they reach the terms of the agreement, completing construction of the first phase by Dec. 31, 2022.

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