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By Ken Elkins, Charlotte Business Journal
Posted Jan 18, 2017, 1:57pm EST; Updated Jan 18, 3:51pm EST

Apple Inc. wants to spend another $1 billion on its complex of buildings in Maiden that houses servers for the iCloud. That would bring the tech giant's total investment in Catawba County to close to $4 billion.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday night to extend its program of incentives to cover the latest investment by the Cupertino, Calif., company.

The commissioners also asked Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to consider adding office buildings and other different types of investment to the sprawling, 700-acre site.

Apple is considering buying another 237 acres to be added to its existing 182 acres, which is committed to buildings that house computer servers. Another approximately 300 acres contain solar arrays and fuel cells that power the electricity-hungry complex of server buildings.

Scott Millar, president of the Catawba County Economic Development Corp., says he believes Apple’s investment in Maiden and Catawba County will likely grow to more than $5 billion.

“The scale of that is so great it’s unbelievable,” Millar says. “Most people forget that a billion is 1,000 million.”

The latest investment will help lower Maiden and Catawba County residents’ tax burden because Apple is increasingly funding county operations, Millar says.

“It means every citizen in Maiden has gotten the benefit of lower taxes and a new fire station,” Millar says. “It allows the county to do things that, had we not landed Apple to the county, would not have happened in Catawba County.”

On its current 182 acres occupied by data centers, Apple is already planning four additional buildings, including a logistics center and an office building.

Incentives extended by the county include a 50% tax rebate on property like buildings and an 85% reduction in taxes on equipment such as the servers.

In 2009, Apple began its first $1 billion investment with a single server building. Seven years later, it has invested closed to $3 billion on the site, including the almost 300 acres of solar arrays.

Apple employs or contracts for about 400 employees associated with the site in Catawba County.

Ken Elkins covers manufacturing, international business and economic development for the Charlotte Business Journal.


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