Apple Inc. has suspended plans to build a $552 million corporate campus in Research Triangle Park. 

Construction was supposed to start in 2026, but company executives told state officials last week they want to delay the project for up to four years.

The company said it has added around 600 positions in the Raleigh area since first announcing its plans for the RTP campus in April 2021 and has 1,600 people working in total across the state.

The proposed million-square-foot research and development campus was expected to have positions working in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and software engineering. About 3,000 jobs that pay an average of $187,000 annually were expected to be created. State officials said at the time of the announcement that the project was expected to grow the state’s economy by $79.8 billion over 39 years.

It was a high-impact announcement for the area around the state capital, Raleigh/Durham and Cary, but the deal includes community and infrastructure contributions from the tech giant amounting to an estimated $1.5 billion in economic benefits to the state. It will also cost the state more than $845 million in tax breaks promised over the next 39 years. When local incentives are added, the total comes closer to $1 billion in incentives to draw the tech giant.

Here’s a breakdown of the Apple deal. By the numbers:

  • $845.8 million — Cost to NC
  • $20 million — Cost to Wake County
  • 39 years — Length of North Carolina’s commitment to Apple’s tax breaks (until 2060)
  • $2 trillion — Value of Apple Inc (in 2020, Apple became the first company to hit the $2 trillion mark)
  • $1.5 billion — Apple’s estimated NC economic impact; this includes the campus and salaries, but also:
  • $100 million — Utility Fund to benefit schools and community initiatives
  • $110 million – Infrastructure contribution to 80 counties with the greatest need
  • 3,000 – Apple RTP jobs
  • $187,000 — Average Apple RTP annual salaries
  • $430 billion —Apple’s planned US economic impact over five years
  • 20,000 jobs — Apple’s planned US growth over five years (including RTP’s 3,000).

The clock began ticking last year for Apple to begin hiring workers, with an obligation to hire a minimum of 126 workers, with an increase of 378 total positions by the end of 2024, and up to 2,700 by 2032.

The state money for Apple comes from a JDIG, or Job Development Investment Grant. This grant was originally intended to reward and draw companies to more disadvantaged areas in the state.

Time and again, JDIGs have proven to have a poor track record when it comes to “promised job creation and investment targets.”

The latest, BioAgilytix Labs, LLC, a life science testing company founded in Durham in 2008 and headquartered there, was due to receive up to $18,885,000, spread over 12 years if they held up their end of the agreement that was announced in October 2020.

They announced in March that they couldn’t create the 878 jobs promised under the agreement.

The latest announcement comes after state officials terminated three more incentive packages worth millions of dollars and 1,000 potential new jobs in February.A growing number of recent agreement terminations have prompted calls to terminate the JDIG program.

It should be noted that if a company doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain with the state, they do not receive any grant money.

Another company that is being watched is VinFast, which has a huge JDIG agreement. The Vietnamese electric vehicle maker first announced plans in February 2022 to build on a 1,800-acre site in Moncure, Chatham County.

Under a JDIG agreement, if it meets its hiring goals, the company could receive up to $316.1 million in reimbursement from the state over three decades.

The plant was scheduled to open in 2024 but was delayed until 2025 according to an announcement last year.

Further, construction is now on hold at VinFast’s proposed $4 billion electric vehicle factory after the company revised its plans for a scaled-down version of the facility. Another delay was announced in May, leaving many to wonder if the plan will ever come to fruition.

Follow Carolina Journal for more developments related to the proposed Apple Campus at RTP.