Exclusive: Montgomery County, emboldened by HQ2, also courting Apple
May 21, 2018
By The 2030 Group
By: Daniel J. Sernovitz
Montgomery County economic development officials hope to convince the decision-makers at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) to consider their suburban Maryland jurisdiction as the global technology giant homes in on prospective locations for a new corporate campus.
Emboldened by the region’s status on the short list for a second headquarters for Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. recently made an unsolicited overture to Cupertino, California-based Apple, which kicked off its search last year. Apple executives said they felt they already knew enough about Montgomery County and Maryland by virtue of the publicity surrounding HQ2, but invited the EDC to follow up with any additional information that might factor into Apple’s search, said David Petr, president and CEO of the county organization.
“The EDC has had a conversation with leadership at Apple, really being driven by us getting into the second round of Amazon’s search,” Petr said. “We hadn’t heard from Apple, and we didn’t get the call from them that they were interested earlier, but when we did get short-listed (for Amazon) it gave my business outreach team confidence to do more outreach to Apple.”
Northern Virginia appears to have an edge as a prospect for Apple’s 20,000-employee corporate campus, which is expected to grow to around 4 million square feet. What’s more, according to sources familiar with the process, Maryland economic development officials visited Apple in Cupertino earlier this year and were given the indication Apple wasn’t actively pursuing the Free State.
Petr declined to confirm or deny the state’s courtship of Apple but said his EDC determined it should reach out directly to pitch Montgomery County to Apple.
The commonwealth is regarded as being more business friendly than Maryland, which has additional regulations and costs to doing business than does Virginia. Apple would not face the high costs of Montgomery County’s income tax rate if it elected for Northern Virginia instead. At the same time, Maryland’s statewide political makeup tends to be more progressive than Virginia, which could favor the Free State.