(The Center Square) – Apple will invest $1 billion to build a new campus and engineering hub in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper, state leaders and Apple officials announced Monday.
Officials said the 1,000,000-square feet facility in the Research Triangle Park would create at least 3,000 jobs and bring $1.5 billion a year in economic benefits to the state.
"The scope of this project is transformative for people of our state and our economy," North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders said Monday during a news conference Monday. "It means new jobs, careers for many. It means an influx of people relocated. It means new partnerships and opportunities. It has a multiplier effect. It means growth for other businesses and industries as well, like real estate, retail, hospitality, our small businesses, among others."
Apple has a data center in Catawba County, where it now employs nearly 200 people. It selected North Carolina for its new campus after three years of deliberations. Cooper's office said it will be Apple’s first entirely new U.S. campus in more than 20 years.
Officials said Apple's $1 billion investment will be over 10 years in the Wake County facility. The company also will establish a $100 million fund to support school and community initiatives in North Carolina and contribute more than $110 million for broadband and infrastructure projects in rural areas. In return, North Carolina will compensate Apple $846 million over the next 39 years. Wake County has offered to reimburse 50% of Apple's property tax growth for 30 years if they met the investment goals.
“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,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in a statement. “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.”
Researchers at the John Locke Foundation, a local free-market think tank, said Apple’s corporate handout is unfair to other businesses in the state and ignores research indicating tax incentives fall short of their economic growth objectives.
“While the announcement of thousands of potential jobs coming to the Triangle is welcome news, the latest Apple incentive deal represents another case of big government and big business in bed together,” said Brian Balfour, senior vice president of research at the John Locke Foundation. “Imagine being a small business owner who has paid taxes in North Carolina for years hearing that one of the largest corporations on the planet will be getting a massive tax break.
“Such crony deals serve to centralize more economic power in the hands of politicians and their hand-picked corporations, leaving small businesses and other taxpayers to pay the bill," Balfour said.
Cooper said recent LGBTQ and diversity initiatives were some of the driving factors behind Apple's decision. Legislative leaders pointed to the state's business friendly climate.
"After all, there's a reason this transformative project isn't happening somewhere else," said Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham. "We've spent 10 years enacting responsible budgets, lowering taxes and making regulations reasonable, the winning formula for job creation. That formula combined with education reforms and funding is attractive to job creators, big and small. Today, that job creator happens to be the biggest company in the world."
Cooper said Apple is the 11th company that has announced new jobs in North Carolina over the past two months.