So is Apple Inc. really coming to Fort Worth?The highly profitable maker of Mac computers, iPhones and iPads, one of the most valuable companies in the world, has confirmed that it’s bringing some production to Texas, but whether that will include Cowtown remains a mystery. Apple has previously announced plans to add facilities in Austin.Earlier this month, a website that follows all things Mac set off a local buzz by reporting that Apple is looking toward Fort Worth to assemble its “radically redesigned” Mac Pro desktop computer, which is expected to be released later this year. MacRumors.com said Apple would partner with Flextronics and assemble the product at that company’s new facility in north Fort Worth, in the former Nokia plant at Alliance, where it recently unveiled plans to build a smartphone for Motorola. The website based the prediction on a comment from a Taiwanese securities analyst, who, according to websites that follow technology, has a pretty good track record when it comes to Apple. Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned Texas at a Senate hearing in May, when he said the company is investing billions of dollars to create jobs in the U.S.“We’re investing $100 million to build a Mac product line here in the U.S.,” Cook said. “The product will be assembled in Texas, include components made in Illinois and Florida, and rely on equipment produced in Kentucky and Michigan.”But he didn’t utter the words Fort Worth. And no one else in a position to know is commenting publicly.Flextronics just opened its 470,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at Alliance, but that facility is expected to be solely dedicated to producing Motorola’s Moto X, which will be the first smartphone produced in the U.S. The company expects to hire up to 2,000 workers.A Motorola spokeswoman declined to comment on the Apple rumor, as did Flextronics. An Apple spokeswoman also has declined to talk about where the Mac Pro will be produced.Fort Worth economic development officials said they have not been approached by Apple regarding potential incentives. Flextronics is not receiving any incentives. David Berzina, executive vice president of economic development with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, said he has not talked to Apple, nor has anyone from the California-based company contacted him.“Apple has a presence in Austin. Apple has a supplier in North Texas. I’m sure it’s going to be a competition. We’d love to see it here,” Berzina said.At a recent chamber of commerce luncheon with some of the city’s top business executives, Mayor Betsy Price briefly addressed the rumor.“Technology continues to open the door for us,” Price said. “The world will come looking for us.”In Austin, Apple is slated to add 800,000 square feet over the next several years, but right now that appears to be office space. The company has not confirmed what the space will be used for.According to an economic development agreement with Austin, approved in March 2012, Apple needs to make a minimum $282.5 million investment and create 3,635 jobs at a 38-acre campus at West Parmer Lane and Delcour Drive in northwest Austin. It is close to Apple’s other offices there. Apple said its spending $304 million on the expansion.The Austin American-Statesman reported in December that Apple agreed to invest $56.5 million in the first phase by the end of 2015 and $226 million in the second phase, due to be completed by the end of 2021. The newspaper looked at site plans for the project and said the campus will eventually have seven buildings at just over 1 million square feet and three parking garages for 5,500 cars.Melissa Alvarado, a spokeswoman for Austin’s economic growth and redevelopment services office, said she did not have any additional information about Apple’s expansion beyond what is in the economic incentive agreement.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST