Thursday, September 20, 2018
Business

Tampa Bay leaders would love to land Apple’s next campus, but Apple isn’t making it easy

For the Tampa Bay area’s economic development team, going after Amazon’s second headquarters was like running a hard race uphill against fast competition.

In contrast, going after Apple would be less like a race and more like, what, a puzzle? A treasure hunt?

Whatever it is, it involves a blindfold.

Of course local officials would love to pitch the region’s benefits to Apple. But at the moment there’s no organized pursuit of Apple’s planned campus the way there was for Amazon’s HQ2 project.

That’s because the maker of the iPhone, the world’s biggest company by market value, has yet to say what it’s looking for — how much property it needs, for example, or what kind of or how many employees it’s seeking.

"We are certainly prepared," said Craig Richard, president and CEO of the nonprofit Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. "Right now no one knows what this project is, except for Apple. There hasn’t been a process outlined like Amazon, and honestly, I don’t expect it to be that way."

In mid-January, Apple announced plans to build a second corporate campus somewhere in the U.S. and hire 20,000 workers over the next five years.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Apple to build second campus in $350 billion pledge

The expansion is possible partly because the tax law passed in December enables Apple, which generates two-thirds of its revenues overseas, to bring about $250 billion in foreign earnings back into the United States at a reduced tax rate. (That said, the company will still pay a tax bill estimated at $38 billion — believed to be the biggest such payment of its kind — on that money.)

The tax windfall is expected to help finance a new U.S. campus that would:

• Be announced later this year.

• Initially house technical support for customers.

• Be powered entirely by renewable energy sources like solar or wind power.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told ABC News the campus would not be in California, where the company spent $5 billion building a circular headquarters nicknamed the "spaceship," or in Texas, where it has significant operations.

Nor, he said, will the decision involve the kind of open-bid free-for-all that prompted 238 communities from across North America to offer Amazon tax breaks, cash grants, free land, housing subsidies for employees and more.

To the contrary, the company has done a lot of the site selection work quietly.

"We’ve narrowed the list a lot," Cook said. "We wanted to narrow it to prevent this auction kind of process that we’d like to stay out of."

BACKGROUND: Tampa Bay area doesn’t make cut as Amazon second headquarter finalist

In addition to the second campus, Apple also has sketched out plans to spend more than $10 billion on new data centers across the United States. The company has spent billions creating data centers or co-located operations in seven states, including North Carolina, over the past decades.

If the company is looking to create a headquarters that houses everything except its top officers, Richard said Tampa already has proven to be a successful landing spot for corporations like Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, USAA, MetLife and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The city was even a finalist for the relocation of Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. headquarters.

"We have all of their operations: legal, accounting, real estate, HR, everything but the C-suite," he said. "We have a strong track record in the event that Apple follows a similar model… Once they disclose what they’re looking for, we would love to be part of that process."

The Amazon project led Pinellas and Hillsborough to submit a joint regional bid that was a first for the bay area.

It should not be the last, say local officials and business boosters.

"Our competition for HQ2 was a win for the region," St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Anne Drake McMullen said. "We need to pull together and look to see where were our weaknesses in that application, shore those up and continue to make these applications together as a region. We’re stronger together."

Improving regional transportation is an obvious need, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said, but there’s another priority that should be addressed if the bay area intends to go after companies that have a "need to get to all corners of the world."

"For a big multinational company like that, for us to be competitive, we’ve got to add more international flights," Buckhorn said. "We’ve come light years at Tampa International Airport already… but obviously there’s work to be done if we’re going to really be a global city."

GLOBAL ASPIRATIONS: TIA’s prospect list includes Mexico City, Lima, Bogota, Amsterdam, Manchester and Dublin

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

Comments
Watch: A southern white rhinoceros calf just a week after being born at ZooTampa

Watch: A southern white rhinoceros calf just a week after being born at ZooTampa

TAMPA — A southern white rhinoceros gave birth to a calf at ZooTampa on Sept. 12, marking the sixth successful birth of the species in the zoo's history. In a news release, ZooTampa said southern white rhinoceroses are a nearly threatened spec...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
The guys who brought you Tampa’s Armature Works plan high-end offices next door

The guys who brought you Tampa’s Armature Works plan high-end offices next door

TAMPA — Coming soon from the developers who brought you the Armature Works: Heights Union, two high-end office buildings next door to the trendy food hall, event space and co-working complex overlooking the Hillsborough River.Developers said Friday t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Baggers, cashiers soon can grow beards at Publix

Baggers, cashiers soon can grow beards at Publix

ORLANDO — The faces of baggers, cashiers and stockers at a Florida-based grocery chain may look slightly different in the near future.That's because Publix said Friday that it would start allowing workers to grow beards and other facial hair b...
Updated: 2 hours ago
They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they can’t park on it

They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they can’t park on it

ST. PETERSBURG — One day in January, Dana Cremo was on her front porch hanging a vintage screen door when two city employees walked up. "You can’t park on your driveway," they said. "Why?" she asked. "Because somebody filed a complaint," they said. F...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pasco Business Digest for Sept. 28

Pasco Business Digest for Sept. 28

BrieflyPARADE APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE: The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce will host the 2018 "Magical Night Christmas Parade," sponsored by Florida Hospital Dade City/Zephyrhills on Dec. 7 on 8th Street, Dade City. Applications for se...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Federal loans open to Pinellas businesses struggling against Red Tide

Federal loans open to Pinellas businesses struggling against Red Tide

The U.S. Small Business Administration has extended its disaster loan program to include Pinellas and Pasco county businesses affected by Red Tide.Already, the Pinellas County Economic Development Office was taking applications for bridge loans to he...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida adds 20,500 jobs in August, unemployment rate unchanged at 3.7 percent

Florida adds 20,500 jobs in August, unemployment rate unchanged at 3.7 percent

Florida’s jobless rate held steady in August at 3.7 percent, unchanged from July, according to state figures released Friday. That makes this the 11th-straight month with an unemployment rate below 4 percent. The state added 20,500 jobs in August and...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Could Trump starve a Tampa Bay transit project of federal funds?

Could Trump starve a Tampa Bay transit project of federal funds?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit line has succeeded where other Tampa Bay transit projects have failed. The project aimed at connecting downtown to the beaches has avoided anti-transit sentiment while securing money and support f...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Tampa General nurses record the last heartbeats of dying patients, making a family memory

Tampa General nurses record the last heartbeats of dying patients, making a family memory

TAMPA — As John Reisinger waited with family at Tampa General Hospital, grief settled in like a fog. So some of the details are hazy.But he remembers the moment when three women in white lab coats approached him.The day before, his niece, Jessica Rau...
Published: 09/21/18
Artificial intelligence might not threaten the human race, but it could be coming for your job

Artificial intelligence might not threaten the human race, but it could be coming for your job

You likely have heard how artificial intelligence is changing the world, from smart phones that keep getting smarter to all the experimenting with driverless vehicles.The rapidly improving technology has also begun replacing workers, especially anyon...
Published: 09/21/18