This could be another boost for Crook County: According to a post I read on oregonlive.com and “two people with direct knowledge of Apple’s plans”, Apple is considering following Facebook’s lead and opening a large data center in Prineville, Oregon.
Summary: Apple, going by the code name “Maverick” in their discussions with the county, has an option to buy a 160 acre plot of land currently owned by Crook County and only 1/4 mile from Facebook’s state-of-the-art data center completed Spring 2011. The option expires this month, so the county expects a decision in the next few weeks – Crook County officials sound “hopeful”.
Tech companies are attracted to Prineville for many reasons: The cool yet dry air and consistent sunshine make for the perfect climate, Oregon’s relatively low energy costs, federal incentives to expand to areas in the US with low unemployment, and primarily the tax breaks. Crook County struck a tax deal with Facebook filing the data center as a rural “enterprise zone” which spares computers and similar equipment like servers from the overall property tax Facebook will pay; it’s these potential million dollar exemptions that attract Apple and other companies.
Hopefully our legislators don’t destroy this great opportunity by superseding these local tax deals!! Crook County unemployment peaked in June 2009 at 18.7% but still hovers around 15% and although these data centers employ relatively few workers they attract huge investments and could help harvest a new industry in Central Oregon. Check out these links to see what I’m talking about:
And check out this great article on Facebook’s new data center: http://www.wired.com/…/facebook-data-center/all/1 I love the open source trend – I’ll take a peak at the blue prints and maybe Apple will consider me as a contractor consultant. 🙂