updated 10:40 am EDT, Tue October 5, 2010
Costs offset by government concessions
Apple paid a couple $1.7 million in order to secure just one more acre of land for its North Carolina data center, according to Bloomberg. Donnie and Kathy Fulbright originally paid $6,000 for the acre, which they occupied for more than 30 years. It took several offers from Apple before the Fulbrights could be persuaded to leave. "They told us to put a price on it and we did," says Kathy. The couple ultimately used the money to buy a 49-acre plot, a new house and a jacuzzi.
The initial land purchase for the data center may have cost Apple about $35,000 per acre. The center is believed to be worth about $1 billion in total, but some of the burden has been transferred over to local taxpayers. Apple is said to have received a 50 percent reduction in real property taxes, and an 85 percent reduction in individual property taxes; on top of this, the North Carolina legislature is reported to have approved $46 million in tax breaks.
In exchange Apple is expected to provide work for an area with unusually high unemployment. The region should gain 50 new core positions, another 250 auxiliary jobs and some 3,000 peripheral ones. The town of Maiden and Catawba County should together receive about $9.3 million in taxes and other revenue over the course of 10 years.
Apple has yet to explain what the data center might for. Speculation has held that it could be used to stream iTunes content, but it may also be necessary to keep up with the demands of selling music, video and app downloads. In any circumstance, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer has said that the center should be finished by the end of the year and subsequently put into use.