updated 08:02 pm EST, Fri February 7, 2014
First two buildings now open, part of $282M overall expansion plan
The first portion of the planned expansion of Apple's existing Austin campus is complete, with certificates of occupancy now issued for the first two of six planned buildings on the expanded site, which will now be home to the company's "Americas Operations Center." Two parking garages and two additional buildings are also planned and in various stages of permitting. When the first phase is fully complete in 2015, the campus will double its present workforce.
Construction began in March of 2012, and Apple has thus far spent at least $27.1 million in design and construction of the first two buildings, according to a report from the Austin Business Journal. Overall, the company plans to spend a total of $304 million over the next eight years, with $56.5 million spent on the first phase of expansion, which has a deadline of the end of 2015. A further build-out, some years away, will cost $226 million and bring thousands more jobs to the Austin area.
All in all, over 800,000 square feet of office space (part of more than one million square feet of total facility space) will be created in the long-term project, and is said to be bringing a total of some 3,700 new high-paying jobs to the city. In addition to the completion of the first two buildings, a central plaza has also been installed, along with roadways and other infrastructure.
The Austin expansion is just part of a much larger plan for accommodating Apple's prodigious growth over the last few years, which is currently being handled with a stopgap plan of temporary office-space leases and other moves. The company has begun work on building itself an entirely new company headquarters in Cupertino with an estimated cost of $5 billion, and is also expanding other facilities such as its European Operations Center in Ireland, which will see 500 new jobs created.
The Austin project expands on the administrative, engineering, chip design and call center work being done at the present Austin campus and will turn it into the operations center overseeing North, Central and South America operations including support, logistics, manufacturing and distribution across the two continents. The facility is also expected to house some of Apple's in-house processor design or engineering teams as it presently does. The new buildings are directly across from the existing campus.
Under a plan worked out with local and state authorities, salaries for the positions will average $35,000 per year for the bottom 10 percent of workers (such as custodial and maintenance staff) and a minimum $11 per hour for contractors. The campus is expected to generate around $15 million annually in benefits to the local area for at least the next 15 years, and eventually generate thousands of new positions in mostly well-paid positions.