Both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) have recently filed plans to increase data center operations in Prineville, Ore., which is a little community that is on track to turn into one of the prime data center locations in the U.S. Upon completion of data centers, their combined operations will have created some 1.2 million square feet of data center space. Both tech giants hold enough land in Prineville to develop well beyond that.
Many of you would be asking how did Prineville, with a population of not more than 10,000, attract Apple Inc (AAPL) and Facebook Inc (FB)? And does Prineville really get help from data centers, which are not big employers?
Joshua Smith, who is Prineville’s senior planner, said the world’s most valuable company this week has presented a master plan to “slowly build over time” as much as 500,000 square feet of space. Apple is close to a finishing point of a 10,000 square-foot data center project on a 160 acre parcel it owns.
On the other hand, Facebook was in Prineville first, building what turned into a 334,000 square foot data center in 2010, and it has been completing work on a companion facility, which is predicted at nearly 360,000 square feet by local officials. Facebook has ownership of about 120 acres of land.
This week FB submitted plans to contruct a further 60,000 square foot facility, while it is unclear whether it will be used for the purpose of a data center. Local economic development officials say they have several important things supporting them including plenty of reliable electricity, low power costs (at about 5.5 cents a kWh), available land, and the climate. They think these things make it ideal for data center systems.
Further, the tax breaks are also kind. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) are entitled to 15-year tax exemptions that apply to buildings and equipment but not to land. The state applies no sales taxes on equipment. Facebook Inc (FB) has nearly 60 employees at its data center but that is expected to increase to about 100 once it completes all its building. Apple may sooner or later add roughly an equal amount, according to local officials.