Apple looks to repurpose Arizona factory after GTAT bankruptcy

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GT Advanced
Back entrance to GTAT's sapphire plant in Mesa, AZ. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

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.

“We’re going to continue evaluating GTAT’s progress on larger sapphire boule development, as well as consider other options for the facility,” an Apple spokeswoman told Re/code. “We remain committed to the city and we’re going to work with Mesa and Maricopa County to help the GT Advanced employees who will be impacted by this find new jobs.”

GTAT filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month after its failure to meet performance requirements kept the company from receiving its final $139 million payment from Apple. As a result of the company’s bankruptcy, more than 650 employees have been laid off. The plant opened less than a year ago.

The sapphire glass factory was expected to bring in over 2,000 jobs and $1 billion to the Mesa area, but after the project failed to produce a single sapphire iPhone display, Apple and GTAT reached a $439 million settlement to end all current agreements.

Source: Recode