updated 09:55 am EDT, Fri April 27, 2012
Skepticism about Apple terms, Austin's benefits
An expansion deal between Apple and the city of Austin, Texas is on shaky ground, a report suggests. Dave Porter, the senior VP of economic development at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, tells the Austin-American Statesman that the deal isn't finished, and "remains in peril." Apple is allegedly "frustrated" with some recent developments.
The city originally revealed Apple's plans for a new campus in March. Apple is expected to spend $304 million on the facility and hire some 3,600 new workers over the course of 10 years, in exchange for some government incentives. Last week Travis County commissioners approved handouts, pending a vote this week. Before the vote though a number of commissioners and other involved parties spoke out, arguing that the $35-36 million or more Apple was set to receive over 10 to 15 years wouldn't do enough to protect Austin.
"[Apple] had it rigged so they could not comply with the contract yet end up with county staff basically renegotiating the terms that they would have to comply with," says Bill Aleshire, an attorney and former county judge who was part of the dissenting group. "I just thought that was a major flaw. It showed up in several ways in several places," he tells the Statesman.
The debate during this week's meeting is said to have lasted for hours, forcing a vote to take place next week instead. Apple already has a substantial presence in Austin; the current campus handles administrative and some engineering functions, and the city has two Apple Stores, located at The Domain and Barton Creek Square Mall.