Apple will build a $1 billion plant in Austin, the tech giant announced Thursday morning. The new campus will be in North Austin, and will reportedly initially employ 5,000 engineering, research and development, operations, finance, sales, and customer support jobs. Currently, the Austin campus, which is less than a mile from the planned expansion site, employs about 7,000 people. Ultimately, the campus will have the capacity for 15,000 employees.
The campus will take up 133 acres including 50 acres of open space, and will be entirely powered by renewable energy, according to Apple. When completed, it is expected to make Apple the largest employer in Austin, which already hosts the most Apple employees outside of the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. “Apple is among the world’s most innovative companies and an avid creator of jobs in Texas and across the country,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a statement. “Their decision to expand operations in our state is a testament to the high-quality workforce and unmatched economic environment that Texas offers. I thank Apple for this tremendous investment in Texas, and I look forward to building upon our strong partnership to create an even brighter future for the Lone Star State.”
The company will receive $25 million in taxpayer-funded incentives from the state, according to the Austin American-Statesman. In addition, the company has asked Williamson County, where the campus will be located, for fifteen years worth of property tax abatement. The city of Austin is offering no incentives. When Apple opened its original Austin facility in 2012, the company—once listed as the most valuable company in the world—received $21 million in incentives from the Texas Enterprise Fund.
Earlier this year, Apple announced its intention to invest more than $30 billion in capital expenditures over the next five years in the U.S. This comes amidst tensions over proposed tariffs. In September, Apple representatives wrote a letter to the U.S. trade representative expressing concern that any trade war with China could result in higher prices for Apple products for U.S. consumers, provoking a tweet from President Donald Trump:
Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China – but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive. Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now. Exciting! #MAGA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2018
Apple defended itself in its Thursday announcement by noting that the company currently employs more than 90,000 people in all fifty states, including 37,000 at its Cupertino facility. “Apple has been a vital part of the Austin community for a quarter century, and we are thrilled that they are deepening their investment in our people and the city we love,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler in a prepared statement Thursday.