Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Economy & Business
Contact 90.5 WESA with a story idea or news tip:

Apple To Build New Campus In Austin, Will Expand To Pittsburgh And Other Cities In Next 3 Years

Marcio Jose Sanchez
The exterior of Apple headquarters is seen before an event to announce new products at the company's headquarters Monday, March 21, 2016, in Cupertino, Calif.

Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, break ground on smaller locations in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and over the next three years will expand in Pittsburgh, New York and Colorado.

The tech giant said Thursday that the new campus in Austin, less than a mile from existing Apple facilities, will open with 5,000 positions in engineering, research and development, operations, finance, sales and customer support. The site, according to Apple, will have the capacity to accommodate 15,000 employees.

There are already 6,000 Apple employees in Austin, its largest operation outside of company headquarters in Cupertino, California, where 37,000 people are employed.

"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.

In Pittsburgh, the company currently has 50 development employees, mostly software engineers, in the Strip District. It employs hundreds of retail employees in the area. Audrey Russo, CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, said Pittsburgh shouldn't compare itself to the investment in Texas.

"We are Pittsburgh, and we are really trying to make sure that we sort of have our ducks in a row," Russo said. 

On its website, Apple indicates it plans to have up to 250 people working in Pittsburgh.

Credit Apple
This graph shows that the Pittsburgh region is expected to have up to 250 Apple employees.

The sudden announcement is a contrast to Amazon’s search for a new headquarters, which led to a highly-publicized bidding war between cities across the country, including Pittsburgh.

With an influx of new, high-income residents comes a fear of gentrification, but Russo said it’s not something she’s worried about.

“I’m not scared of people who have the means to help develop our economy. I think that’s a sign of progress,” Russo said.

Cities offered incentives to lure the company, but CEO Tim Cook avoided a high-profile competition that pitted them against one another as Amazon did over the last year-and-a-half.

Amazon announced in November after a 14-month search it had selected Long Island City, Queens, and Arlington, Virginia, as the joint winners. Each site will employ around 25,000 people.

Cities are eager to bring in more tech employers because companies like Apple and Amazon ladle out six-figure salaries to engineers and other skilled workers.

The infusion of thousands of new and highly paid residents can ripple through an economy, with those employees filling restaurants, theaters, buying property and paying taxes.

Annual pay will vary at the new locations, but Apple workers in Cupertino have an average annual salary of about $125,000, according to a report the company submitted to the city.