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Thursday, March 22, 2012, 10:08 pm PT (01:08 am ET)

Austin city council approves $8.6M grant for Apple facility

The Austin city council approved on Thursday a performance-based grant worth as much as $8.6 million for Apple's proposed plans to expand its offices and create as many as 3,600 new jobs in the city.

Local Austin TV station KVUE reported late Thursday that the council had reached an unanimous vote to approve the incentives. Apple's proposal iinvolves a $304 million investment and more than doubling the size of its workforce in Texas.

"We have thousands of people who are unemployed or underemployed who are looking for jobs, or better jobs than they've got right now, to make a living wage," said council member Bill Spelman. "I think we've got an obligation to make that available to them."

The city's incentives will stack on top of a Texas Enterprise Fund award approved by Texas governor Rick Perry. Apple will receive $21 million over 10 years from the TEF as it expands its local customer support, sales and accounting functions. Travis County is also considering contributing $6 million to the expansion.

According to the report, Apple will become the second-largest private employer in Austin, behind only Dell, if it follows through with the proposal. The company currently employs roughly 3,100 people at its Austin offices.

Apple Austin facility

Apple's facilities in Austin, Texas, via WebProNews.


MacNN reports that the facility will be built on "38 acres of land with at least one million square feet of office space" and will function as a new "Americas Operations center" for the company.

Some critics have questioned whether Apple, which has amassed $100 billion in cash, needs the incentives, but city officials have called the negotiations "very competitive" because Apple was looking into other locales.

"What we are told is that there are other locations under consideration, Phoenix being one of them," said Dave Porter of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, as noted by KXAN.