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Apple's North Carolina 'Triangle' campus a 'done deal' if legislation passes

Apple's plan to set up a new campus in North Carolina's "Research Triangle" could be announced as early as June, with Republican legislators reportedly close to passing a financial incentives package granting benefits to the iPhone producer.

North Carolina city night



Legislators met on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the state incentives package that Apple would receive in exchange for building the new campus in the so-called "Triangle" —which consists of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill —reports WRAL News. An unnamed source of the report is confident that the ongoing negotiations are fruitful, claiming "It's a done deal, as soon as we pass this bill."

A second source warned it is still possible for the deal to be derailed, up until the General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper formally sign off on the package. An official announcement is scheduled to occur in early June, though a source adds this could change following the publication of reports on the negotiations.

The incentive schedule grants Apple approximately 56 percent of the employer's share of withholding taxes that it would generate from activities in North Carolina for the first six years of the deal, growing to 90 percent as job numbers increase after the six-year period. Withholding funds would also be provided to a state account meant for rural development, starting at close to 19 percent but reducing down over time to 10 percent.

While there isn't any grant money provided by the state in the incentives package in its current form, it does include 30 years of property tax abatements from Wake County.

Sources state Apple would initially operate in or around Cary, leasing enough space of Weston Parkway to hold 1,000 employees, before increasing the employee count and moving to 300 acres in southern areas of the Research Triangle Park. The plans also allegedly include new infrastructure investments, possibly near an existing Apple data center in Hickory in Catawba County.

Apple could spend $900 million on a new data center, a source claims. Reports from December indicated Apple planned to make another $1 billion investment in its Catawba County campus, on top of the existing $4 billion it has spent there since 2009.

State economists are said to love the Apple deal, sources state, which is thought to introduce at least 3,000 jobs, but is expected to produce between 5,000 and 10,000 research and development jobs over the long term. The high anticipated average pay of $130,000 per year and the rapid ramp-up of the project as a whole is considered to make it more favorable than if Amazon selects the state for its second headquarters, which would produce as many as 50,000 jobs.

"Our economists have basically told us that the only way this doesn't work is if you let them leave," a report source claims.

Apple in January announced its intention to build a second headquarters, as part of a push to invest in the U.S. The company later ruled out both California and Texas, leading to speculation that the campus would be located in the Northeast.

The company was clear from the beginning that it was not interested in a city versus city auction process like the one currently being undertaken by Amazon. Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated that in the "Apple: Revolution" interview on MSNBC in March, stating that "We're not doing a beauty contest kind of thing, that's not Apple."

More recently, it is reported Cook took part in meetings relating to the project while the CEO was in town for Duke's commencement over the weekend. Both Cook and Apple executive Eddy Cue are alumni of Duke.