Ap­ple pon­ders cam­pus in North­ern Vir­ginia

N. Carolina also be­ing con­sid­ered, re­port says

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Jes­sica Guynn and Mike Snider

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 INC.

Ap­ple and Ama­zon are con­sid­er­ing North­ern Vir­ginia, which has an es­tab­lished tech cor­ri­dor.

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