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Apple announces 1st East Coast campus in North Carolina

Updated: Apr. 26, 2021 at 7:45 AM EDT
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NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV/AP) - Apple announced plans on Monday to invest more than $1 billion in North Carolina to build the company’s first East Coast campus, a move expected to bring at least 3,000 new jobs to the state.

The development comes as part of an effort by Apple to up investment as the U.S. begins rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement from the company.

Gov. Roy Cooper and legislative leaders joined North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders to speak on the announcement Monday morning.

“This campus will represent the future of apple and the future of our economy here in North Carolina,” Cooper said. “I want to welcome apple to the RTP in Wake County, North Carolina. We are excited to have them.”

Cooper said North Carolina is a place where cutting edge ideas are born. The governor names several incentives on why Apple chose North Carolina for the campus, including the state’s workforce, university system, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and being a center for innovation. “I believe they picked us for a lot of those reasons,” Cooper said.

State leaders say Apple will retain 1,100 employees with plans to hire an additional 3,000, likely relying on North Carolina’s workforce.

“Apple already has a site in Catawba County and we’re hoping they will grow there as well,” Cooper said.

The North Carolina project falls under a commitment to invest $430 billion and add a total of 20,000 new jobs over the next five years, expanding teams in Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, New York, California and other states, officials said.

The campus and engineering hub is set to be located in the Raleigh-Durham area’s Research Triangle Park alongside hundreds of other science and technology firms. The hub will be home to thousands of additional jobs in machine learning, artificial intelligence, software engineering and other fields, the company said.

The exact timeline for the project was not immediately given.

Apple currently operates a data center in the Catawba County town of Maiden. Local leaders say it has been a great success for the community.

“It’s been a great partnership, they’ve been great to work with…they’re our single largest property tax payer, created over 400 jobs, almost $3 billion in investment and that’s happened on more than one occasion,” said Randy Isenhower, Chairman of the Catawba County Commission. “It could only benefit every county, including this county. I think Apple’s presence here has helped us look at our data centers and also at the state.”

Economic development leaders in nearly every county say the Apple announcement about the Raleigh area facility could bring benefits across the state.

“The state has met with some people in the biotech sector that weren’t quite sure they wanted to relocate to North Carolina, they’ve been sitting on the fence, but now that they’ve seen a few announcements, we’ve had several I the past few months, they’re feeling more confident that we have the talent, the location to support their business coming here,” said Rod Crider of the Rowan County Economic Development Commission. “That creates a domino effect, so every new win that we get in the state tells the next person that may be looking at us that this is a good place to take a look.”

“We are excited to welcome Apple to our thriving technology ecosystem,” said Michael Haley, executive director of Wake County Economic Development. “This is an important milestone that strengthens our position as a tech hub. Apple’s decision to invest in the Triangle is a testament to our community’s talent, resources, and overall quality of life.”

Apple also said it plans to establish a $100 million fund to support schools and community initiatives and contribute more than $110 million in infrastructure spending to go toward broadband, roads, bridges and public schools across the state.

The company said it already employs 1,100 workers in North Carolina and expects its investments there to generate more than $1.5 billion in economic benefits annually for the state.

“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,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “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.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. WBTV contributed to this article. All rights reserved.