RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Apple announced Monday it will bring at least 3,000 jobs to Wake County as part of a plan to invest more than $1 billion in North Carolina.
The company plans to build a new campus and engineering hub in Research Triangle Park, employing people to work in a variety of roles including: machine learning, artificial intelligence and software engineering, among others.
Hiring is expected to begin right away, as the company anticipates leasing space in the area while it designs and builds the new facilities. The campus will be more than 1,000,000 square feet and run entirely on renewable energy, according to Apple.
The minimum average wage for the positions will be $187,001, according to the NC Department of Commerce.
Apple’s leaders said the announcement is part of a $430 billion plan to add more than 20,000 jobs across the country in the next five years.
“At this moment of recovery and rebuilding, Apple is doubling down on our commitment to US innovation and manufacturing with a generational investment reaching communities across all 50 states,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement.
Sources familiar with the plan say the new positions will be for people working in person in North Carolina, with the majority of them being high-tech, high-wage jobs.
“Today’s announcement reminds us that research and innovation bring prosperity. North Carolina is a place where cutting edge ideas are born and everyone can find the opportunity to succeed,” Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said.
The state’s Economic Investment Committee met Monday morning to approve an agreement where the company could receive more than $845 million in tax incentives from the state over 39 years and $20 million from Wake County.
“Incentives are part of it. And, most states when they would attract a company like this would have incentives. So, other states were offering incentives too. But, this company looks at everything,” said Cooper. “Remember, these are accountable incentives. They don’t get anything until they create these jobs.”
State commerce officials said Monday the primary competition for this project, which was known as “Project Bear,” was Ohio. However, the noted a number of other states were considered.
The company said this move is estimated to have a $1.5 billion impact on the state’s economy annually by 2029.
The conservative John Locke Foundation criticized the incentives package.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
Republican legislative leaders joined Cooper at Monday’s press conference, saying the pro-business policies they’ve backed in the last decade contributed to Apple’s decision.
“We’ve worked to move North Carolina from the bottom of the pack in business climate ratings to near the top,” said Republican Senate leader Phil Berger. “There’s a reason this transformative project isn’t happening somewhere else.”
Under the state’s Job Development Investment Grant program, companies can receive cash grants when they create jobs and invest in North Carolina as long as they meet certain performance targets, according to the NC Department of Commerce.
A so-called transformative project “can provide reimbursements up to 90% of the new personal income withholding for a period of up to 30 years,” according to the department. A company must create at least 3,000 jobs and invest at least $1 billion in the state, which Apple has said it will do.
As part of that agreement, at least $112 million would be contributed to infrastructure spending, such as broadband, roads, bridges and schools.
Apple also said it will create a $100 million fund to go toward school and community initiatives both in the Triangle region and throughout the state.
Apple currently employs about 1,100 people in North Carolina and opened its first store in the state in 2002 in Durham. The company would retain those jobs as part of the agreement with the state.
In 2018, CBS17 reported Apple was eyeing the Triangle for a new campus. At the end of the year, the company announced it had chosen Austin, Texas. State officials said despite the decision at the time, they were still talking to the company about a significant investment in North Carolina in the future. CBS 17 reported that Gov. Roy Cooper (D) met with Tim Cook, who graduated from Duke, when he came to the state that year to give a commencement address at the university.
The development follows a series of significant jobs announcements for the Triangle in recent weeks.
Last month, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies said it would create 725 jobs in Wake County and announced plans to invest $2 billion. More than 1,000 jobs could also come to Durham after Google announced company executives had picked the city for Google Cloud’s new engineering hub.
Cooper said he spoke over the weekend with Tim Cook who told him the repeal of House Bill 2, known as the bathroom bill, and the ability for localities to now enact certain non-discrimination ordinances were important.
“He feels good about our diversity, inclusion and anti-discrimination landscape,” said Cooper.