Amazon.com Inc. isn’t the only West Coast technology giant shopping for a new community to build a large corporate campus. Apple Inc. is looking to make a big investment as well, although it hasn’t drawn nearly much attention to itself. As with the Amazon project, Northern Virginia appears to be in the running.
From a trophy hunting view, Amazon would be the big prize — $5 billion in investment plus 50,000 new employees. The Seattle company has narrowed the list of candidates to 20 localities, and only one can win. But Apple would make a nice consolation prize. Its history of expansion in Austin, Texas, suggests that a new corporate campus could well entail an investment of $1 billion or more and the hiring of 1,000 or more employees.
If Apple wants an East Coast location, North Carolina might have an edge in the fact that CEO Tim Cook graduated from Duke University’s business school and COO Jeff Williams grew up in Raleigh. Last week, reports the Wall Street Journal, North Carolina legislators changed the state’s incentives package targeting technology companies that pledge to invest at least $1 billion in the state and create at least 3,000 jobs. Could Apple be heading to the Research Triangle?
Definitely a possibility, but the company also is eyeing Northern Virginia. Apple representatives have spoken to Virginia officials about options near Washington, D.C., the Washington Post has reported. Says the Wall Street Journal: “Northern Virginia could be attractive to both Apple and Amazon given its deep pool of talent, strong fiber network, and proximity to political leaders, location experts said.”
Bacon’s bottom line: So far, there is no indication in published reports that Apple is seeking tax breaks and subsidies on the same massive scale that Amazon is. Assuming that incentives are not a decisive consideration in Amazon’s location decision — an assumption that needs to be confirmed — Apple would constitute a far more preferable corporate citizen. The Amazon project looks too big to digest comfortably: The company’s expectation of giant subsidies will strain the ability of state and local governments to build the infrastructure needed to accommodate the resulting surge in development. Apple’s campus, though large by any other standard and a plum in any metro’s cap, would be more modest in size and far less disruptive.There are currently no comments highlighted.