Apple ponders campus in Northern Virginia
N. Carolina also being considered, report says
The high-tech corridor outside the nation’s capitol isn’t just a potential lure for Amazon. Apple may be in the mix.
Northern Virginia is one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters, and the region has invited Apple to consider it for a 20,000-person campus the iPhone maker is planning for somewhere in the U.S.
Apple is seeking 4 million square feet of office space, economic development officials and real estate executives told The Washington Post. That’s about half as large as the campus Amazon is planning. Apple is also said to be exploring North Carolina’s Research Triangle region, another possible Amazon location.
These twin tech “trophy” deals, the two largest in U.S. history, would be a boon for Northern Virginia, according to Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First. Apple, in particular, offers high-wage jobs which could sprinkle prosperity on the region.
“These are enormous standalone growth projects,” he said.
Apple announced in January that it would spend $30 billion on new facilities and hire 20,000 employees in the U.S. over the next five years, setting off feverish speculation of where it would land. Unlike Amazon, Apple has not made its search public. CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview that Apple was not engaged in a “beauty contest kind of thing.”
Apple declined to comment on the report in The Washington Post.
The gravitational pull for West Coast technology companies to the D.C. region: a young, highly educated and tech
savvy workforce, nearby colleges, universities and research institutions and easy access to mass transit, not to mention greater proximity to a Republican-controlled Congress and the Trump administration, an added benefit given growing calls for regulation of the industry.
“It is akin to what the defense industry did in the 1990s and early
2000s when it moved headquarters and facilities to be closer in touch with the people who use its products,” said Tom Stringer, a corporate location specialist and managing director at BDO International. “Big tech companies, as big and diversified as they have gotten and as many regulatory areas they now fall under, are starting to take the same approach.”
But could Northern Virginia, a region already straining from overcrowding and traffic congestion, accommodate both tech giants?
“If both were to come to Northern Virginia, that would be a very stressful event,” LeRoy said. “You’d have to rebuild the economic geography of Northern Virginia.”
Word leaked Wednesday that Apple was considering a Northern Virginia campus that would be two-thirds the size of the Pentagon.
Some of the locations said to be under consideration — office buildings and development sites in Crystal City, privately owned Loudoun County land near the Center for Innovative Technology and the Scotts Run development in Tysons — have also been proposed for Amazon.
Another area catching Apple’s eye: North Carolina’s Research Triangle, close to Duke University, where Cook and other Apple executives went to school, the Triangle Business Journal reported. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and state Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland met with Cook on May
11, according to the report. Cook was in town to give a commencement speech at Duke University on May 13.
“We do not share information about economic development projects before they are final, but I will be happy to share more information if or when a decision is made,” Jamal Little, the North Carolina governor’s spokesman, said in an emailed statement.
Northern Virginia is home to an established “technology corridor” near Dulles International Airport that was dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the East” four years ago by The Atlantic magazine. The region’s proximity to the federal government makes it attractive to defense, tech, telecom and Internet companies.
Apple and Amazon are considering Northern Virginia, which has an established tech corridor.