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Apple expanding in Seattle far more than previously expected

Apple announced last December that it had plans to add 1,000 new employees in Seattle’s South Lake Union tech hub over three years. But the company announced Monday afternoon that it will actually add far more employees than previously expected.

Standing at 333 Dexter Avenue Monday afternoon, in front of Apple’s emerging Seattle campus, the company’s Vice President of Global Real Estate and Development Kristina Raspe detailed Apple’s plans.

“Today we are thrilled to share that our ambitions have grown,” she said. “In addition to the 500 plus employees that we already have here in Seattle, within the next five years we plan to add an additional 2,000 employees, doubling our initial goal.”

This includes 200 more employees added to South Lake Union by the end of 2019 when Apple’s new campus is fully opened. The campus includes 650,000 square feet of office space, with two LEED platinum 12-story towers powered entirely by renewable energy.

Raspe said that Seattle is slated to become a significant engineering hub for Apple with positions across hardware, software, and services. The company is currently recruiting for these positions in Seattle.

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Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce CEO Marilyn Strickland were present during Apple’s Monday announcement. Durkan stressed that Apple’s expansion in the city confirms Seattle has talent and a future in the tech economy. She stressed that to meet that future, the city will have to invest far more in mass transit, such as light rail and buses, and create a culture around these forms of transportation.

“By next year, an estimated 70 percent of jobs in Washington state will require some sort of post-secondary credential,” Durkan said. “It is my top priority that our kids growing up in Seattle today are prepared to fill the great engineering and computer science jobs that Apple announced today. That’s why we created the Seattle Promise and the Opportunity Promise – so our youth are connected with resources and put on a path to the good paying jobs of Seattle’s future.” 

Strickland echoed that message to the region’s K-12 education system, urging them to prepare students for a future in tech.

“For a long time in Seattle, we have always aspired to be on the global stage; well now we are … we are players, the world is watching us,” Strickland said. “And what that means is that we have a responsibility to think about how we grow business, how we attract business, but also to remember that there are people right here at home who want these jobs that pay well.”

The Puget Sound Business Journal further reports on rumblings from “industry sources” that say Apple has also leased out four floors of a tower in Union Square.

This comes during a time of upheaval in Seattle’s tech industry. Amazon recently backed out of its bid to occupy a massive Seattle tower, and then announced plans for a sizable expansion into Bellevue. Meanwhile, Expedia is inching ever closer to its new Interbay campus along Seattle’s waterfront, which will introduce 4,500 employees into the Elliott Bay area.


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