Plugged In: Apple’s growing presence in Austin starts to come into focus

Oct 28, 2013
Austin American Statesman

For a company that is celebrated for its stylish design, Apple Inc.’s expanded Central Texas campus on West Parmer Lane has a pretty utilitarian look about it, at least from the outside


The California-based computer company is building on a 39-acre site adjacent to its present Austin operations, which employ more than 3,000 people in its Americas Operations Center


The Austin center is being built as Apple starts on its new headquarters complex in California, which has a celebrated circular “spaceship” design. The Austin center has a far less futuristic look, but it will have a walking trail around the complex. It already boasts at least one entrance sign that reads: “Welcome to our smoke-free campus”


Right now, two hulking four-story office buildings are nearing completion alongside an enormous parking garage. The project looks dense, sort of like an iPad Mini, with a lot of stuff packed into a tight package


The fast-growing electronics giant has had to give up some details about its Austin project in return for the the estimated $35 million in state and local tax incentives it will recent for the Austin expansion, which was known locally as “Project Hudson.”


The company has said it plans to spend $282 million on new buildings and equipment in Austin over the next decade. That is expected to include seven new office buildings with a combined 1 million or more square feet of space. Those buildings will house an estimated 3,600 new workers needed to support Apple’s continued growth. The average wage for those new jobs will be $54,000 a year in the first year of the expansion and will expand to $73,500 in year 10


The jobs will run the gamut of skills required to run Apple’s business operations for the entire Western Hemisphere. A look at Apple’s job openings for Austin shows what kinds of different skills are being sought — including fraud prevention, finance, customer support, corporate sales, information systems and accounts payable. Some of those openings are aimed at employees who are fluent in Spanish or Portuguese, which is critical for working with the company’s sizable business in Latin America


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