With Apple's New Austin Campus Underway, Is Apple Still Looking at North Carolina?

A year to the day after Apple announced plans to spend $1 billion on a new corporate campus in Austin, Texas, to initially support 5,000 employees with the potential to grow to 15,000, television station WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina, has shared an update and a few new details related to North Carolina's attempts to attract the new campus.

Rendering of Apple's upcoming Austin campus

While it didn't conduct a public competition like Amazon, Apple was open about its plans to construct a new corporate campus, announcing its intentions in January 2018. A number of cities emerged as top contenders to land Apple's new campus, but by May 2018, sources were reporting that it was all but a "done deal" that the new campus would be located in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park (RTP) near Raleigh and Durham, with a temporary location for up to 1,000 employees planned for an existing office building in nearby Cary.

Months went by without an official announcement from Apple, and with Apple ultimately revealing the campus would be built in Austin, many have wondered what went wrong in what appeared to be late-stage negotiations between Apple and North Carolina.

The December announcement seemed to surprise the governor and state legislative leaders, who hours later released a joint statement touting economic growth in North Carolina and pledging to "keep doing everything we can" to attract jobs. [...]

Since then, there's been little explanation about how or why the deal dissolved by year's end.

But given the company's notorious penchant for secrecy, [North Carolina Senate Majority Leader Harry] Brown said, media coverage of the potential plans for North Carolina didn't help.

"Apple and companies like it are very sensitive to information getting out, and there's a possibility that could have hurt the negotiations with Apple a year ago," he said.

Even since the Austin announcement, there have been some curious developments in North Carolina that have hinted Apple may still have plans for the area. Most notably, in December 2018 just weeks after the Austin announcement, a mysterious entity known as Acute Investments purchased several tracts of land in RTP totaling around 280 acres, a massive investment that did not come with any public announcements. The Acute Investments representative listed on the deeds for the properties is local attorney Bruce Thompson, who is registered as a lobbyist for Apple, among other companies.

Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by Acute Investments and "controlled by Apple"

As a result, Apple has long been suspected of being the mystery buyer in RTP, and today's report from WRAL indicates that North Carolina Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland has finally confirmed that the land is indeed "controlled by Apple."

In an interview with WRAL News last week, Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland declined to provide specifics about the state's active recruitment of Apple. But he did point to a purchase of about 280 acres of Wake County land in Research Triangle Park for almost $50 million in late December 2018, just weeks after Apple's Austin announcement. [...]

Reached this week by phone, Thompson declined to comment.

But Copeland confirmed in the interview that the land is "controlled by Apple."

In addition, the state of North Carolina continues to refuse to release any information regarding its negotiations with Apple for the new campus, claiming that the project remains "open." Governmental authorities are typically required to release information to the public about their corporate recruitment efforts once a given project has ended, but North Carolina continues to insist the Apple project, known by its code name of "Project Bear," has not been closed.

So given that the new campus has been announced for Austin and ground has now been broken there, it's unclear what Apple's plans are for North Carolina. Are negotiations actually still underway for yet another Apple campus to be located in RTP, or is the continued "open" status of the project simply a ploy by Apple to try to keep its negotiations secret for as long as possible? And why spend tens of millions of dollars on RTP land when Austin had already been chosen?

Is Apple looking at yet another significant campus in the near future, or is it banking land and leaving negotiations with North Carolina open as a backup plan or to provide options for much further down the road? It's not clear when we'll have answers to these questions, but given Apple's appetite for office space, it would not be surprising if the company finds itself looking to expand again in the not too distant future.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
10 months ago


Austin is a good choice. The South is not.

Damn I must have forgot that Austin, Texas left the south magically. That's crazy.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
10 months ago
Austin is a good choice. The South is not.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
10 months ago
Interesting, I live about 30 minutes from there. Hope they come and do something with it. I always figured this would be a way for those Duke guys to write-off the tickets and travel to the basketball games.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
10 months ago
San Francisco bay area is getting too expensive.

Logical to divest in California rental properties and ramps up in cheaper states.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
10 months ago
Why is it shaped like the old Windows logo?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
10 months ago


The two pieces of Louis Stephens were never connected. When the northern part was constructed in the early 2000s, it dead ended at Little, which also ended at that intersection. On the southern side, it was a dirt road that dead ended at a farmhouse south of where 540 eventually cut through. Only now is the old dirt road being converted to modern street even within the Breckenridge neighborhood.

540 was built with bridges over where Louis Stephens was going to be connected. They have some dirt on either side of 540 to move to make the connection that's now going through, but 540 itself was absolutely built to accommodate it.

Ah I had move back to this area back when Hopson curved off to Alston before it was re-aligned out to 55, but I hadn’t taken many trips downLouis Stephens. I still remember Koppers Rd, before it was taken out by the now-extended Louis Stephens. I didn’t see the dirt road version of Louis Stephens then. I wonder if that farmhouse is where the “Louis Stephens” family lived? hmm. Curious!


Oh, now that I think about it... I think I did see the dirt version of that road, but it didn’t go anywhere. That must’ve been where McCrimmon turned into Koppers leading to the stop light at Carpenter... and now that’s a real road thru to that neighborhood. I barely remember that! Wow!

We’re making these other forum readers scratch their heads, “what are these two going on about? Weird locals...” haha


While based on latitude Austin is a southern city it, and Texas as a whole, has little in common culturally with the states to its east. That's like saying LA is southern.

On the other hand, NC is sort of in the same boat. It's hard to argue that Raleigh-Durham are southern as well. South Carolina on the other hand...

umm, we’re south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Two states away, even. We’re the South. Not that I’m proud of it (and I was born here). SC folks, however, will kill you if you say otherwise. Only some of us in NC will; most will say what I said and move along.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Releases watchOS 7 With New Watch Faces, Family Setup, Sleep Tracking, Handwashing Help and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:47 pm PDT by
Apple today released watchOS 7, the newest version of the watchOS operating system designed to run on modern Apple Watch models. The watchOS 7 update comes after several months of beta testing. ‌watchOS 7‌ can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at...