May 2, 2012
Will Apple Keep Austin Weird?
Image Credit: Photos.com
---Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Last June, Steve Jobs visited the Cupertino City Council to make a pitch for their new “spaceship” campus. Pitching his plans for the new facilities, Steve Jobs told the city board members, “Apple is growing like a weed“¦”
Now, in further response to such growth, Apple and Austin have agreed to terms and will begin construction on a new Texas facility this summer.
Apple first announced plans to break ground on a new $304 million campus in Austin, Texas back in March.
Now, local courts in Austin have voted and approved Apple´s move to the Lone Star State.
According to the Statesman, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 in favor of a deal which will give the iPad maker anywhere from $5.4 to $6.4 million in tax rebates over the next 15 years.
For their part, Apple will be investing $282.5 million into the town during construction. Apple´s new campus is expected to bring nearly 3,600 new jobs into the growing tech industry of South Texas.
As a part of the deal between the two, Austin has asked Apple to verbally commit to hiring locally for their new facilities.
Many of the new jobs created by the new campus will be entry-level with expected salaries starting at $40,000. Their new campus is slated to be finished in 2021.
Plans had been stalled and “in peril” a few days ago as Travis County staffers felt part of the proposed contract would have given too much in the form of tax incentives to Apple.
Dan Houston, Austin-based economic consultant, said a few stalls shouldn´t run Apple away from the deal.
“If you´re Apple and you´re prepared to spend a couple hundred million dollars, what´s a couple more weeks of negotiating?” he said.
Apple isn´t a stranger to the live music capital of the world. They´ve had a customer support and complaints center there for years, and according to Apple, “Thousands” of people are employed in these facilities.
In explaining their move to Austin, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told Reuters, “Our operations in Austin has grown dramatically over the past decade from less than 1,000 in 2004 to more than 3,500 today.”
The new campus will be called the Americas Operation Center and will serve as “the hub for the company in the Americas.”
Apple will begin construction on the new facility next month next to their existing customer service facilities in Riata Vista in North Austin.
Governor Rick Perry stated his approval in a March statement, saying: “Apple is known for its bold innovation and game-changing designs, and the expansion of their Austin facility adds to the growing list of visionary high-tech companies that have found that Texas´ economic climate is a perfect fit for their future, thanks to our low taxes, reasonable and predictable regulations, fair legal system and skilled workforce.”
“Investments like this further Texas´ potential to become the nation´s next high-tech hub.”