In December 2018, Apple unveiled it would build a second Austin campus at 6900 W. Parmer Lane in the Williamson County portion of Northwest Austin and hire 5,000 new employees for a total investment of $1 billion. In the year since, the company secured its site plan permit and completed its traffic impact analysis.
Although Apple plans to initially hire 5,000 new employees—in addition to the 7,000 who already work in Austin—the new campus has the capacity to house 15,000 employees.
“Apple coming to Williamson County is amazing, and I think what has been shared thus far paints a beginning portrait of the relationship that we will have for years with Apple,” Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said.
The site of the new campus, on 133 acres in the Robinson Ranch property, includes thousands of trees, the news release states.
"As part of its commitment to respecting the historical and geographical significance of the area, Apple is partnering with Austin-based Bartlett Tree Experts to preserve and increase the diversity of native trees on the 133-acre property,” the news release states.
In September, Apple also announced it will continue manufacturing the Mac Pro computers in Northwest Austin where the computers have been made since 2013. Apple reported in a news release that it and its manufacturing partners invested more than $200 million in the 244,000-square-foot Mac Pro facility for a complex assembly line. The company reports the first shipment of those new computers will head out in December.
“Building the Mac Pro, Apple’s most powerful device ever, in Austin is both a point of pride and a testament to the enduring power of American ingenuity,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a news release. “With the construction of our new campus in Austin now underway, Apple is deepening our close bond with the city and the talented and diverse workforce that calls it home.”
Preparing for traffic
Earlier in 2019, Apple completed its traffic impact analysis, which the Austin Transportation Department requires for developments that would generate more than 2,000 new trips per day.
The report indicates the site would generate more than 24,000 new trips per day and have four new driveways for vehicle access. Transportation department staffers are also requiring that Apple add $632,500 worth of transportation upgrades to accommodate the new trips. These improvements include adding new lanes for vehicles turning in and out of the campus as well as modifying the signal at Dallas Drive.
As part of its long-range planning, Williamson County has proposed additional roads through the Robinson Ranch property where Apple will build the campus.
“I would say to anyone that’s concerned [about traffic]: Look at what Williamson County has done in the past,” Gravell said. “We’ve been one of the forward-leading counties in America for traffic and traffic patterns and making sure we are ahead of the growth and ahead of the curve.”
He said the county is considering new roads near the campus, and Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long, who sits on the policy board for the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, would take the lead on road planning.
“Not only are we going to address the issue in Williamson County, but we are going to address it regionally,” Gravell said.
Capital Metro has also proposed to expand its MetroRapid bus service on Parmer Lane as part of the Project Connect regional transit plan. Officials said they do not have short-term plans to add a MetroRail station or realign the commuter rail line.
Additional reporting by Ali Linan.