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Apple To Build Massive New Austin Campus, Expand Operations Around The Country

A satellite image of Apple's Austin campus in 2018

Apple has now joined the ranks of Amazon and Google in announcing major real estate expansion.

The iconic tech brand announced in the early hours Thursday morning its plan to build a $1B, 133-acre campus in Austin that will initially house 5,000 employees, with the potential to grow to 15,000. It will be less than a mile away from its already-sizable complex in the Riata Crossing area of North Austin, which houses the bulk of Apple's 6,000 employees already in the city.

Within that area, 50 acres will be preserved open space, and the entire campus will be fully powered by renewable energy, in Apple tradition. Apple also offered insight into its company culture when CEO Tim Cook contrasted its search for a massive new complex with Amazon HQ2. Saying that Amazon's public process "creates a lot of losers," Cook likened it to a "beauty contest."

Apple kept its search private, as has been the norm with major companies for decades, and has not publicly discussed if it is receiving economic incentives from the city or the state of Texas. Apple and its employees will enjoy the lack of state income taxes and the amenities of the growing tech community in Austin. The U.S. Army is another entity recognizing Austin's tech bona fides, as it chose the Texas capital for its Futures Command headquarters earlier this year.

With the new office, Apple expects to become the largest private employer in Austin, according to the announcement. But its planned job growth extends far beyond the city limits. Within the next three years, Apple plans on crossing the 1,000-worker threshhold in Seattle, San Diego and the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles. Hundreds of new employees are also expected in Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado, in that period.

With its New York hiring wave, Apple joins Amazon and Google as a tech giant growing its presence in the U.S.' largest city. However, the only city in which Apple has clarified its intentions regarding real estate to any degree is Austin. There, it will carve its 133 new acres out of the 7,000-acre Robinson Ranch, a swath of land owned by the Robinson family, KXAN reports. Through the years, the Robinsons have sold pieces of their holdings, but only recently have they indicated the willingness to release parts of Robinson Ranch for development, according to the Austin Business Journal.