SEATTLE -- Another tech giant is bringing a campus to Seattle. Microsoft’s direct competition, Apple, announced it will be expanding, creating an engineering hub in South Lake Union and bringing thousands of new jobs to the city.
Apple already has an office downtown and with its five Apple stores in the area employs roughly 1,100 people. The company promises to double that number in new hires over the next five years.
The issue won’t be filling the jobs. The chief economist with Windermere, Matthew Gardner, says it will continue to be the housing.
“They’re gonna bring in this significant amount of fairly high-income employees that can afford to live, buy those houses or rent those very expensive apartments.”
The concern over affordable housing grows with the announcement.
“This could potentially, to a small degree, exacerbate that problem, it certainly won’t make it any easier.”
The more the city grows economically, the more it grows with people flocking to the city to work, live and play. However, Gardner doesn't believe that the tech giant calling Seattle home will impact prices all that much.
“When you think about King County, for example, the market sells 2-3 thousand homes per month, so a couple of thousand people coming in, is not going to be a big paradigm shift to the marketplace, but it will be supportive of it."
The move might not take a bite out of home prices, but it is feeding the economy in other ways, according to Marc Stiles with the Puget Sound Business Journal.
“That means more tax base, and it means more business opportunities for people," Stiles said. "It means an even more thriving restaurant scene, so there are a lot of benefits.”
In the grand scheme of things, a couple thousand people doesn't seem like it would make a big difference but Stiles says it could.
“It’s huge, it really is huge, because these are 2,000 very well paying jobs. That will in an of itself spur additional job growth creation.”
And it is for those reasons that Mayor Jenny Durkan is proud to welcome the expansion.
“What makes Seattle Seattle is not just the great tech names that we have here and the engineers and the software developers and the companies, who become emblematic of change in the new economy," Durkan said.
Apple says they will have the first 200 employees working by the end of this year. The remaining 1,800 employees will fill in over the next 5 years.
Both Garnder and Stiles say the space Apple is taking over is more than large enough to support more than 4,000 employees. They said they wouldn’t be surprised if we see the company bringing in that many employees over time— whether they transfer through the company or are new hires.