$2 Billion Global Command Center Will be One of Apple’s Largest Investments
PHOENIX AZ— Apple said Monday it will invest $2 billion over 10 years to open a data center in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will be the company’s fifth in the U.S. and serve as a control facility for its global networks, one of Apple’s Largest Investments.
The announcement comes four months after an earlier Apple plan for the 1.3 million-square-foot Apple Mesa facility purchased in 2013 failed.
The tech giant had a deal with Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Advanced (GT) to use the plant to make sapphire glass for its products, but GT declared bankruptcy in October after production issues developed. After the GT failure, Apple said it would work to find another use for the plant.
In a written statement, Gov. Doug Ducey announced that the facility is expected to employ 150 full-time Apple employees, with 300-500 construction and trade jobs. Additionally, Apple is making a significant investment to power the facility with 100 percent renewable energy — building and financing solar projects that will take advantage of Arizona’s excellent solar resources. The projects will produce 70 MW of clean energy, enough to power more than 14,500 Arizona homes.
Arizona lawmakers are not taking any chances, making sure Apple’s planned data center qualifies for tax breaks for energy use and a farm of solar panels that will be used to power the $2 billion facility.
State Senate President Andy Biggs and other Republican legislators introduced Senate Bill 1468 Tuesday in Phoenix. The bill adds "international operations center" to a list of qualified business activities that can receive state and local tax breaks for energy consumption and renewable energy use.
The Arizona Legislature ushered through similar tax breaks last year when Apple planned a 700-worker sapphire glass plant at the same building. That measure was geared toward manufacturers.
The state created a Foreign Trade Zone in Mesa for Apple. That means the technology giant pays a 5% property tax rate instead of 18% like most other businesses. Apple was slated to get $10 million from a state business recruitment fund for the failed sapphire glass plant. But, that incentive never happened because of GT's demise.
Apple is not asking for a similar incentive for the new data center but it appears Arizona lawmakers just aren't taking any chances.