Apple’s first efforts to do major business in Arizona crashed and burned with the spectacular failure of GT Advanced Technologies’ sapphire plant, but the company’s second effort is going much better than expected.
More than 500 jobs are being added to Apple’s command center in Mesa that will require a small contingent of top Apple executives from Silicon Valley to move to Arizona to oversee operations, while other positions will be filled by local hires.
Apple’s sapphire ambitions with GT Advanced Technology have been a complete disaster. But even though the plan to turn Mesa, Arizona, into the Sapphire Capital of the West failed, Apple executives are still looking for a way to repurpose GT’s new factory.
The city of Mesa and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer bent over backward to bring Apple to the Grand Canyon State, but now that GTAT plans to shut down operations, Apple says it’s still committed to helping the area.
Apple could open a sapphire glass manufacturing facility in Arizona as early as February, according to recently published correspondence between the company and state regulators.
Analyst Matt Margolis unearthed documents that mention the Mesa plant — described as “Project Cascade” — and note that it would be used to manufacturer “a critical new sub-component” for a future Apple product.
Apple’s new glass plant in Arizona has finally received the official seal of approval from the local government and some newly released documents reveal that in order to lure the tech behemoth to the Valley of the Sun, the Arizona Commerce Authority sweetened the pot by offering Apple a $10 million grant, plus some tax incentives.
The Gilbert Public School Board was the last of eight entities to approve the tax breaks for Apple, who plans to build a high-tech glass manufacturing plant in Mesa that will bring over 700 jobs to the area plus an additional 1,300 construction jobs while the plant is being built. According to one third-party economic study, Apple’s investment is estimated to generate more than $102 million in tax revenue over five years.