What you need to know
- New details have emerged about a potential campus in North Carolina.
- State representatives speculate why the state lost the campus to Texas.
- Land grabs and a lack of release of info indicate potential plans in North Carolina.
In November, Apple announced that it had broken ground on its 133-acre campus in Austin, Texas that will eventually house over 15,000 employees. The campus was the result of Apple's search for a $1 billion new campus for the company. While Apple did not engage in a public bidding mess like Amazon, some details had come out over the course of the search that North Carolina was a potential location for the company's new location.
Reported by MacRumors, new details have come out about why Apple may have passed on the state in favor of Austin for the new campus and why the company might not be finished with North Carolina just yet.
WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina has reported that, when Apple had announced in December 2018 that the campus would be built in Texas, it came as a shock to the Governor of North Carolina. That May, sources had said that a North Carolina campus was all but a "done deal", even reporting that the new campus would be located in Research Triangle Park near Raleigh and Durham. When questioned as to what happened, North Carolina Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown speculated that information about the potential deal might be what killed it.
"The December announcement seemed to surprise the governor and state legislative leaders, who hours later released a joint statement touting economic growth in North Carolina and pledging to "keep doing everything we can" to attract jobs ... since then, there's been little explanation about how or why the deal dissolved by year's end ... but given the company's notorious penchant for secrecy, North Carolina Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown said, media coverage of the potential plans for North Carolina didn't help ... "'Apple and companies like it are very sensitive to information getting out, and there's a possibility that could have hurt the negotiations with Apple a year ago,' he said."
Even though the campus that Apple is building now will not find its home in North Carolina, the company may still have plans with the state. Weeks after the Austin announcement in 2018, a company called Acute Investments purchased 280 acres at Research Triangle Park. Bruce Thompson, a local attorney and known lobbyist for Apple, was listed on the deeds for the properties. While Apple has not commented on the purchase, WRAL has revealed that the land is "controlled by Apple" in an interview with North Carolina Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland.
"In an interview with WRAL News last week, Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland declined to provide specifics about the state's active recruitment of Apple. But he did point to a purchase of about 280 acres of Wake County land in Research Triangle Park for almost $50 million in late December 2018, just weeks after Apple's Austin announcement ... reached this week by phone, Thompson declined to comment ... but Copeland confirmed in the interview that the land is 'controlled by Apple'".
The state has also refused to release any information about the deal, saying that the project, called "Project Bear", remains "open". States usually release information to the public once a project has ended, so North Carolina's refusal to do so is yet another curious indicator that more may still be in store for the state.
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