The Puget Sound region has become a hotbed for Silicon Valley satellite offices in the last several years, with the Seattle outposts focused mainly on software engineering for cloud computing and artificial intelligence technologies.

Share story

Apple is planning to employ more than 1,000 workers in Seattle by 2022 as part of a national expansion, the company announced Thursday.

Apple has an engineering office in downtown Seattle that focuses on machine learning technology, but Apple spokesman Colin Johnson wouldn’t say how many employees are there now or give details on the expansion plans.

The company employs more than 1,000 employees across Washington state, where it also has six retail stores and a Vancouver engineering team.

The company’s big news Thursday was that it would build a $1 billion campus in Austin, but Apple also mentioned expanding sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City.

Apple established an engineering office in Seattle in 2014 when it bought local cloud-networking startup Union Bay Networks. It expanded its reach two years later, acquiring startup Turi, which focused on machine-learning technology and was led by University of Washington professor Carlos Guestrin.

But it’s unclear how big Apple has grown in Seattle since then. The notoriously secretive company declined to provide any details on its headcount in the city, which is standard information provided by the vast majority of employers here.

Public records and past statements shine some light on Apple’s footprint. The company has taken some space in the Two Union Square skyscraper downtown, at Union Street and Sixth Avenue, since acquiring Union Bay.

The owner there was not eager to provide information Thursday. “I would appreciate it if you put in there that the landlord would not comment,” said Mark Barbieri, executive vice president of Washington Holdings.

Building permits show Apple has taken at least four floors in the building. In the last year and a half, about $2.9 million worth of remodeling has been performed for the company, for an area that covers about 33,400 square feet. The news site GeekWire, citing anonymous sources, pegged Apple’s presence in the building at 70,000 square feet in April.

The space is a relative drop in the bucket compared to the other two big Bay Area tech companies expanding here: Google and Facebook are each on track to occupy about 1 million square feet in the city, with room for more than 5,000 employees — or about five times the expansion plans outlined by Apple.

Although Apple declined to share details about its Seattle expansion, an Apple machine-learning recruiter said on LinkedIn, “Our Seattle office is growing!! Machine Learning is our sole focus.” The recruiter’s post said the company is looking for research scientists, applied research scientists, machine-learning engineers and software engineers with interest in machine learning to build its artificial intelligence and machine-learning team.

Apple has 26 open jobs in Seattle listed on its career site, which include several machine-learning positions, many focused on developing Siri, its AI voice technology.

The Puget Sound region has become a hotbed for Silicon Valley satellite offices in the last several years, hosting campuses for Facebook, Google and Salesforce. The Seattle outposts focus mainly on software engineering for cloud computing and artificial intelligence technologies — areas where Seattle has an experienced talent base.

Google is expanding into a four-building, 607,000-square-foot campus that is under construction in South Lake Union, and the company recently announced plans to take over a separate office tower in South Lake Union, next to fellow tech giant Amazon. The new campus will have room for about 4,000 employees.

Facebook, which has more than 2,000 employees in the Seattle area, announced earlier this year that it plans to expand into four leased buildings in South Lake Union.

Seattle Times real estate reporter Mike Rosenberg contributed to this report.