Apple will invest $2 billion into a factory formerly occupied by GT Advanced
Apple has decided to transform a sapphire factory once operated by GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) into a data center. The news comes months after the supplier partnership between the two companies collapsed and GT filed for bankruptcy.
Apple to invest billions
According to Bloomberg‘s Tim Higgins, Apple intends to sink $2 billion into the former GTAT facility. A spokesperson for the company said it is one of the biggest investments they have ever made.
The sapphire glass maker had struck a deal with Apple to supply sapphire glass for its devices, but it filed for bankruptcy after Apple said it couldn’t make sapphire displays that were up to its quality standards. As a result, GTAT ended up being unable to fulfill the agreement it had struck with Apple.
Apple still brings jobs to Arizona
Originally, the 1.3 million square-foot factory housed a solar panel manufacturing operation. Apple has been working to bring some manufacturing jobs from Asia home to the U.S., and the facility was a big part of that plan.
The tech giant promised it would still bless the Arizona area around the former GTAT factory with jobs, which is why it decided to transform the facility into a data center. However, it’s expected that the data center will bring far fewer jobs to the area than the sapphire glass making operation would have if it had continued to run.
GTAT to stay through this year
When Apple secured the facility, the per-year lease on it was $100, and the company committed $578 million in prepayment loans to get GTAT’s sapphire glass making operations up and running at full steam.
When GT filed for bankruptcy, it accused Apple of making the terms of its supplier agreement too difficult to meet. When the two companies settled, it was agreed that GT Advanced could keep using the factory in Mesa, Ariz. through the end of this year.
Apple is also making another investment in Arizona by building and financing a number of solar projects, according to state officials. Those projects are expected to be able to power over 14,500 homes after they are completed.
Shares of Apple rose as much as 0.92% to $119.75 per share during regular trading hours today.