Apple to invest $1.3 billion to build Iowa data center

by Harriet Bell August 25, 2017, 1:15
Apple to invest $1.3 billion to build Iowa data center

"Apple has been searching for the ideal location and I am so proud to say that they found it right here in Iowa", Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said, noting the state's educated workforce, stable climate and low-priced, renewable energy.

The California-based company is due to meet with Iowa's Economic Development Authority today, the schedule for which was published and reported on yesterday by The Des Moines Register.

Apple will construct a $1.3 billion campus on 2000 acres to initially include two data centers, with additional expansion in the future.

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The project appears destined for a portion of 3,500 acres of land that Waukee recently annexed. Subsequently, the IEDA Board approved tax incentives via the High Quality Jobs program for the more than $1.3 billion project that will create at least 50 jobs at a qualifying wage of at least $29.12 per hour.

Cook said Apple will contribute up to $100 million toward a "public improvement fund" for the city of Waukee, adding the first project supported by the fund will be a youth sports complex that "will be open to all".

The Waukee City Council this morning approved a property tax abatement for Apple - an incentive worth over $188 million over a 20 year period.

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Speaking alongside Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said the facility "will create hundreds of jobs for people in Iowa from construction to engineering".

The Waukee facility will serve North American users of iMessage, Siri, the App Store, and other Apple services.

"Apple's significant investment and commitment to grow in Iowa is a clear vote of confidence in our state", Gov. Reynolds said. This gives us the opportunity with a global company like Apple to say we are the place to be. During Apple's recent earnings call, Cook instead suggested that Apple was more likely to invest in existing plants than build new, large-scale facilities of its own. "Many individuals and organizations were involved in making this project a reality-one that will pay dividends for years to come". "It only makes sense from a politician's point of view", said David Swenson, an economist at Iowa State University and critic of such large economic development project tax breaks.

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Apple said the project will generate more than 550 jobs in construction and operations, but did not specify how many of those jobs would be long-term positions.

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