updated 08:51 pm EDT, Fri October 19, 2012
Two 338,000 square-foot buildings to be constructed
Apple has started construction of two massive buildings that will eventually house its next major datacenter, located in Prineville, Oregon. Following on from the company's first large-scale facility in Maiden, North Carolina, the development will eventually house two buildings of approximately 338,000 square feet -- each about the size of two Costco stores, reports The Oregonian. Together, about 500,000 square feet of the total will be devoted to data halls. The first building alone will cost some $68 million.
When completed, both buildings will use around 107 acres of the 160 Apple bought for the facility. In addition to the datacenters, some offices will occupy a 10,000 square-foot smaller datacenter already built on the property. The smaller building is the only one available from the street, making information on the progress of the datacenters only obtainable from the air.
Oregon has won a number of datacenters from Google, Yahoo and Facebook (the latter of which is located just across the highway from Apple's land) because of the state's lower-than-average power costs and the substantial tax breaks given to attract the companies, which spent huge amounts on construction and maintenance and create permanent, high-paying jobs once the facilities are built. Apple originally paid $5.6 million for the land the facility is being built on.
Unlike its datacenter neighbors, Apple has said that the Prineville center will be powered entirely by renewable energy, including geothermal, solar and wind power bought from local suppliers. The buildings have also been designed to minimize power use, for example using the area's high winds to help cool the facility. The datacenter is expected to require some 31 megawatts by itself, and will likely also help run Apple's iCloud service, which has already proven very popular with users and which CEO Tim Cook has described as "a platform for the next decade and beyond."
Apple has not mentioned how long construction will take or when the buildings will complete. In addition to the two planned supersized buildings, Apple's plans for the land (and possibly future land purchases) include an eventual total of 14 "data halls," suggesting considerable expansion in the years ahead. An underground stream discovered on the land will also be developed to help the city of Prineville increase the flow of its municiple well. Apple will allows production wells to be built on the property and the city will compensate the company for its use.