GEORGETOWN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Christmas came early Tuesday morning at the Williamson County Courthouse.
The big present wasn’t under the tree outside, but came in the form of a multi page document. The deal approved by county commissioners locks down a major expansion into Williamson County by The Apple Corporation.
Economic Development Recruiters, like Ben White from Cedar Park, teamed up to convince Apple to expand here. White predicted a regional ripple effect.
“Cedar Park is going to benefit from this Georgetown is going to benefit, Jerrell is going to benefit liberty Hill, Leander we are all going to benefit from this move we’re all going to grow, we’re all going expand, we’re all going to be able to market for these type of jobs coming to our area,” said White.
The deal signed by County Judge Dan Gattis runs for 15 years. The key point is a 65 % Property Tax Rebate. In return Apple promises to invest $400 million and hire at least 4,000 people within a 12 year period.
“They have to pay their taxes then we will rebate back based on the fact they are meeting those milestones as they go along if they don’t meet them they don’t get them back,” said Gattis.
Apple already has a large campus on Parmer Lane in Travis County. The expansion site is about a mile north. It’s a 133 acre site, part of Robinson Ranch, directly across from Dallas Dr.
The property is essentially at the NE corner of Parmer Lane and McNeal. Fifty acres will be set aside as Open Space. Company officials promised once the site is developed they’ll not only make good on the deal but will exceed it.
“Initially the plans would be for us to employee an additional 5000 people on the new campus with the potential to grow to 15,000 new employees there when the site is complete,” said Tony Ross who heads up Apple’s Americas Operations.
The types of jobs created include;
sales and customer care
This win-win deal does have a downside. One immediate concern is how the expansion will increase traffic congestion.
Company officials say the new employees will be encouraged to use mass transit. But upgrading Parmer Lane will still be necessary, according to commissioner Cynthia Long.
“Limited access, control access facility is what going to make it ... work there, and that’s what really we need to be talking about, and what Williamson County has been talking about since 2016 in our plan,” said Long.
The impact on housing affordability has also been voiced by residents who live in the area. Incoming County Judge Bill Gravell believes the kind of deal signed Tuesday is part of the solution.
“There is a concern about property tax, and I believe the way that we manage our property tax is through being attractions for businesses and industries, it’s the major business and industry like this that comes into our county, that takes the pressure off the roof tops and puts the pressure on major business,” said Gravell.
Site prep is to start next year.the first buildings are scheduled to come online in 30-36 months.