Apple may open a major research and development center near Raleigh, North Carolina, according to the latest scuttlebutt.
Business Insider quotes Raleigh’s WRAL as saying the agreement is a “done deal,” pending legislative approval of tax incentives. A formal announcement may come early next month. WRAL’s sources told the news outlet that the facility could provide at least 3,000 new jobs, although as many as 10,000 long-term jobs are possible. Those jobs would pay as much as $130,000 annually, and require highly skilled workers.
As usual, Apple has no comment about initiatives in development. If such a deal is indeed in the works, the company would join several others in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, located between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Other major employers in the area include IBM, Cisco, Lenovo, Red Hat, and SAS.
The Raleigh area is also a contender for Amazon’s massive “second headquarters,” which could bring as many as 50,000 new jobs to whichever city wins the bid. Anonymous sources speaking to WRAL framed the Apple deal as equally attractive, given the proposed speed of construction and number of high-paying jobs.
Cities and states are hungry for tech firms to set up major facilities, viewing such projects as a prime source of tax revenue and prestige. However, some critics take issue with the incentives that some local governments are willing to dangle. California, New Jersey, and other states have all attempted to lure Amazon’s second headquarters by offering billions in tax credits—potentially limiting the community’s benefit from the deal. Community activists also fear that huge tech facilities will spike traffic and housing prices, causing headaches for current residents.
Fortunately for Apple, Raleigh has the fourth-highest concentration of tech industry workers (according to CompTIA), which means it will (hopefully) source local talent. And for any tech pros moving to the area, take heart: the cost of living around the Triangle is far lower than in many other tech hubs, with apartments renting for a fraction of what similar space might cost in San Francisco or Silicon Valley.