See Inside Apple’s $2 Billion Data Center In Mesa
Apple Inc. employees for the first time on Wednesday opened the doors of its $2 billion Arizona Data & Global Command Center in Mesa.
The center, in a non-descript building on Signal Butte Road, monitors operations at Apple’s five U.S. data centers and international centers, making it unlike any other, said Kristina Raspe, Apple’s vice president of global real estate and facilities.
With construction complete, the 1.3 million-square-feet repurposed building is the hub of Apple’s operations, Raspe said.
“We are proud of our work protecting the environment. This building is 100 percent powered by clean energy using the nearby 50 megawatt Bonnybrooke solar array and our partnership with SRP,” she said. “Later this year, we are putting in a 4 megawatt solar project on our parking lot.”
Mesa Mayor John Giles said the Apple center is a culmination of many years of working with one of the largest companies in the world.
“You’re not going to find a bigger deal than this,” Giles said at the press conference. “I think we’re all proud of the result. Apple coined the term ‘the Mesa way’ because of how fast we were able to help them with permits. Mesa is ready to compete globally.”
Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak said he remembers seeing the empty building when it was owned by First Solar, which originally built it as a solar panel manufacturing facility.
“A 1.3 million-square-foot building doesn’t come around that often,” Jabjiniak said. “Apple was able to repurpose it quickly.”
First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) built the facility for $300 million but never put it into production. Apple bought the facility in 2013 for $100 million and leased it to New Hampshire-based GT Advanced Technologies to manufacture sapphire glass.
More than 700 workers, mostly contract employees, were to have been employed at the center. The GTAT venture collapsed in late 2014, leaving hundreds out of work and millions of dollars owed disclosed during the company’s bankruptcy proceedings.
In 2015, Apple unveiled plans to convert the Mesa facility — part of the former General Motors Proving Ground — into a data center. The state, Mesa and Apple fast-tracked a deal that included millions of dollars in tax breaks and credits to bring the massive data center to the state.
In May 2015, Apple said it planned to add more than 300 additional temporary workers, up to as many as 500, to be added to the permanent 150 Apple executive-level positions planned for the tech giant’s Mesa command center. An Apple spokeswoman said the extra jobs were construction jobs, and Apple exceeded the original number.
Currently, the center has about 150 employees, according to Apple.
Here’s a look at Apple’s impact on the local community, according to the company:
- $2 billion Apple investment in its Global Data and Command Center
- 30,000 Arizona jobs supported by Apple
- 1,100 total Apple employees, including the data center and Apple stores
- 28,000 jobs connected to Apple’s App Store and iOS ecosystem, according to Progressive Policy Institute.
- $50 million paid to Arizona software developers since the launch of the App Store in 2008
- Six Apple stores in the state
- Apple first moved into Arizona in 2001 with the opening of its Chandler Fashion Center store.
- Eleven supplier locations supporting manufacturing of Apple products
- 100 percent of Arizona’s Global Data and Command Center operations are powered by renewable energy.
- 147 million annual kilowatt hours of energy production from Apple’s partnership with the Salt River Project and the nearby 15-megawatt Bonnybrooke solar array.