AUSTIN (KXAN) — Apple’s announcement Thursday to build a new $1 billion campus in north Austin generated a lot of excitement, but not everyone is a fan of the project.
The proposed 133-acre facility will be built on a parcel of undeveloped land north of McNeil Drive and east of Parmer Lane on the Williamson County side of Austin. A neighborhood called Rattan Creek is located directly across from that site, which has promoted neighbors there to worry about taxes, property values, and traffic.
“My first reaction within just mere seconds was, ‘Oh my God, what is that going to do to my commute?'” Michael Watson told KXAN.
Watson has lived in this neighborhood for 15 years. He said his property taxes went up “fairly substantially” when Apple finished its first facility in the area in 2016. He now expects them to go up even more because property values will likely increase given the proximity to the tech giant’s latest development.
“Depending on what you’re doing, that may be a good thing,” Watson said. “If you’re planning to stay here, that’s not necessarily so good.”
A family that plans to move from this same neighborhood soon told KXAN off camera that they’re excited for the prospect of property values rising.
The Austin Board of Realtors did not have specific data available for home prices in this neighborhood, but the group reported that median home prices in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area have steadily been climbing for the past few years.
In 2011 the Austin Board of Realtors reported the median home price was $193,000, and that has now risen to $313,000 as of October 2018.
“It’s hard to determine if it’s Apple specific or the entire Austin region has also grown simultaneously, so we’ll see how that impacts the market,” Steve Crorey, president of the Austin Board of Realtors, said.
Crorey discussed the impact that Apple’s new facility will likely have on the area.
“You just have to anticipate that it’s probably going to affect inventory unless we really start dealing with putting more units on the ground and the affordable housing problem that we currently have in the city,” he said.
Despite some of the downsides, Watson said he plans to stay in his neighborhood even though it may be more difficult to move in the future because of the Apple development.
“This is a 30-year-old neighborhood,” Watson said. “Older homes, I will notice people will buy up the land, tear down the homes and then put in brand new, beautiful places. That makes the [comparisons] to those new places or upgraded places a little harder if you wanted to sell your home later on.”
Apple announced that it would like to open the first facility in its new campus by 2021.