Construction begins on Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina data center expansion

When Apple published its 2012 Facilities Report and Environmental Update, we got some new details on its plans for the now-under construction Maiden, N.C.-based iCloud data center. We reported that Apple planned to build the largest end user–owned onsite solar array in the United States across the road from the data center, as well as the largest non-utility fuel cell in the country at 5-megawatts. Today, Hickory Daily Record confirmed construction has officially begun.

…this week, work has started on the main campus of the data center. Driving by the campus, you can actually see the structure from the road. That’s because part of the berm — an earthen wall — has been demolished as part of some type of construction… What type of construction taking place on the main campus is not clear. No one is talking, or seems to know.

While it is unclear exactly what the new structure on the main campus will be, there are a few options swirling around. We know the 5-megawatt fuel cell will be next to the main data center, and the new building could house that installation. However, as HickoryDailyRecord pointed out, Maiden Town Manager Todd Herms said Apple originally planned to build two identical structures when it began construction of its Maiden data center. Apple only built one, so the new building could be the second building of the main data center.

The report noted Apple’s main contractor for data centers in area, Holder Construction, pulled zoning permits last week for a “tactical data center.” Another permit issued on Wednesday named 34 acres of the main data center campus. The current 500,000-square-foot building only occupies about 11.5 acres, so its possible the new building will be larger than the current data center. As we pointed out in our overhead shot of the data center pictured right (Thanks PilotJohn), the report also confirmed land is being cleared for the solar farm’s construction across the road.
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Spyshots of the new Grand Central Terminal Apple flagship store

Update: Training for Apple Store Grand Central employees began today at a hotel in Times Square,will end Nov 11, ahead of end of Nov opening. (thanks @iDannyOcean)

In August, we had the opportunity to do a thorough walkthrough of the Grand Central Apple Store space (video above) as construction was just getting kicked off. Shortly thereafter, Apple built a wall around the space so that onlookers can’t get a sneak preview of what is to come (though the renderings, below give you a pretty good idea what Apple has in mind).

Today, a tipster from the MTA has provided us with a progress report of sorts. The pictures, show below and taken yesterday, show that construction is well on its way but as we near its anticipated November launch, still show significant work is left to be done. Talking to one of the construction workers, our source said that Apple plans to have it open for Black Friday, if not sooner.

Remember, this is only one part of the huge space which is said to make it one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Flagship Apple Stores in the world. Additional images below:

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