What’s ahead in 2019: Apple plans new campus in Williamson County

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THE LATEST Apple announced Dec. 13 it would invest $1 billion in a new corporate campus at Robinson Ranch in Northwest Austin, just within Williamson County boundaries. The new campus would include up to 3 million square feet in office space and initially accommodate 5,000 Apple employees with the possibility to add 10,000 more. Williamson County commissioners approved an agreement Dec. 18 to reimburse 65 percent of property taxes paid by Apple on its future campus for 15 years.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT Apple’s next steps include submitting site permits to the city of Austin, starting site preparation and installing utilities. Kristina Raspe, Apple’s vice president of local real estate, said the company expects to have its first buildings operational in 2021. Austin officials praised the announcement for the new jobs it will bring, including Mayor Steve Adler, who said the city and Apple share a “creative spark” and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Even with the increases in jobs and future tax revenue, residents are concerned about rising home prices and the effect on local traffic. Surrounding communities such as Leander and Liberty Hill are likely to see a spillover of new Apple employees buying households or filling rental properties as well as driving new development.

“Austin proper does not have a ton of land left to develop new homes,” said Cindi Bell, president-elect for the  Williamson County Association of Realtors.

Affordability and availability themselves may drive more incoming residents to Austin’s suburbs out of sheer necessity, Realty Texas Realtor Suzanne Gantner said.

This post is part of our Top Stories to Follow in 2019 list, a version of which appears in the January 2019 print issue of Community Impact Newspaper’s Georgetown edition.

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