Following the October surprise bankruptcy filed by GT Advanced Technologies—a key sapphire supplier for the iPhone—Apple today announced plans to invest $2 billion over the next 30 years in the failed plant. The Mesa, Arizona-located plant will become the central command center for its various data centers around the globe.
“We’re proud to continue investing in the U.S. with a new data center in Arizona, which will serve as a command center for our global networks,” Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, wrote in an e-mailed statement on Monday. “This multibillion-dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made.”
Shortly after the bankruptcy announcement from GT Advanced Technologies, Apple described the decision as surprising while adding that the company would focus on job preservation.
As for the new command center, the former GTAT facility is said to staff 150 full time employees from Apple at the Mesa, Arizona location. The sapphire plant-to-data center conversion project will create between 300 and 500 construction jobs in the process, according to Arizona. Apple has owned the site since 2013.
Once built, Apple’s new command center for its network of data centers will cover 1.3 million square feet with solar power running the location. Interestingly, Apple was profiled for its plans to convert the Mesa, Arizona factory to being run by renewable energy ahead of GTAT’s surprise bankruptcy.
Apple’s and Arizona’s announcement that the company is converting the sapphire plant into a command center for its data centers follows a months-long saga between Apple, GT Advanced Technology, and the courts.