PLANT

Apple turning failed Arizona glass plant into data centre

Company’s fifth US data facility will require $2 billion investment over ten years.


PHOENIX — Tech giant Apple will invest $2 billion over 10 years to open a data centre in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will be the company’s fifth in the US and serve as a control facility for the other four.

The announcement comes four months after an earlier Apple plan for the 1.3 million-square-foot facility it bought in 2013 failed. Apple had a deal with Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Advanced to use the plant to make sapphire glass for its products, but the company declared bankruptcy in October after production issues developed.

GT openly accused Apple of using a “classic bait-and-switch strategy” with a deal that he called “massively one-sided.”

Apple lawyers accused the GT of making false statements about the deal, among other allegations.

After the GT failure, Apple said it would work to find another use for the plant. It also has been working to help more than 600 GT employees who lost their jobs.

“This multi-billion dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made, and when completed it will add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the more than one million jobs Apple has already created in the US,” Apple said in a statement. “Like all Apple data centres, it will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, much of which will come from a new local solar farm.”

An Apple spokesman said construction on the new data centre should start late next year, if not earlier. GT is storing advanced furnaces it planned to use in its Apple venture at the plant while the furnaces are being liquidated, delaying the immediate use of the plant.

Apple company expects 150 permanent workers at the site, in addition to construction crews and contractors.

Apple’s data centres provide the computer muscle for its iCloud, ITunes, Siri and other products.

© 2015 The Associated Press

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