Apple doesn’t get a state payout (proof Arizona’s incentives work)

“A development-ready building. Infrastructure in place. Expedited government permitting. Competitive tax structure. A skilled workforce trained for business success,” Eric Jay Toll reports for The Phoenix Business Journal. “Those are the components businesses seek when looking for a relocation. With all cylinders firing, Apple Inc. will land a 150-person data center at its failed sapphire glass factory in Mesa – with no economic development incentives.”

“The Apple data center coming to the former First Solar building near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is proof that Arizona has the right formula for using economic development incentives,” Toll writes. “Sure, in this case, Apple owned the building, but the reality is that the company could have turned it into a warehouse or distribution center, or even sold it.”

“The bottom line is that greater Phoenix offered all the ingredients to make the facility operating costs efficient and effective,” Toll writes. “When the numbers crunch well, there is no need for the state or cities to incentivize a deal.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple did not ask for incentives for new $2 billion data center in Mesa, Arizona – February 2, 2015
Apple to invest $2 billion to convert GT Advanced’s failed sapphire plant into data command center – February 2, 2015
Apple will save jobs in Arizona by repurposing sapphire factory – November 19, 2014
Apple sticking with Arizona plan after sapphire supplier GT Advanced falters – November 18, 2014


  1. “into a warehouse or distribution center, or even sold it”

    Then other people would be working there. So this Phoenix Business Journal does not necessary has a point that incentives work — though they might do.

    1. If the business environment wasn’t favorable, would Apple have chosen to invest its money there? You have missed the point. Also, a warehouse sold does not mean there is ANYBODY working there. It just means that someone else now owns it.

  2. Apple already owned the building. In reality, that factor was likely much more significant incentive than any purported “ingredients” that greater Phoenix may have offered. Had it not become a data center, it could have become a warehouse (still employing plenty of people), or a distribution center, or any number of other job-generating facilities.

    It is a bit disingenuous to imply that there is this magical confluence of various factors that is somehow so amazingly powerful that major businesses will be flocking to Phoenix and its surroundings. To say that the reporter is grossly overselling the overall appeal of this corner of Arizona is an understatement.

    1. LOL @ magical confluence. He made specific claims. Let’s see if you can refute them instead of just calling him “stupid” and other typical name-calling attacks. “A development-ready building. Infrastructure in place. Expedited government permitting. Competitive tax structure. A skilled workforce trained for business success,” Why are these claims not true? Furthermore, WHY did Apple buy the building if the business environment was not favorable? Why didn’t Apple set up business, say, in Nevada, or Idaho, or in California? You know so much, so please explain. I’m detecting some resistance to facts and logic.

      1. You seem to be irked for some reason, and are reading something that isn’t there. There wasn’t any name-calling, or attacking in my message.

        The reporter simply wrote an article about Apple building a data centre in his home town and declared it a direct consequence of the “competitive tax structure”, “expedited government permitting”, etc, while in all likelihood it was due to the fact that the company already owned the building and decided to keep using it.

        Apple bought the building two years ago (from First Solar), and got GT Advanced to run it as a sapphire glass factory. It was meant to employ a lot more than 150 workers that the new data centre will.

        I don’t know is the ‘competitive tax structure’ and ‘expedited government permitting’ are real and measurable advantages over other parts of the US (they may well be), but the article sounds very much like promotional material from the local chamber of commerce.

  3. I agree with Predrag…

    Also, just want to point out the obvious — that Apple has invested a lot more than $2 billion in California, a state that some on the right consider incredibly anti-business (!). If California was so mean to businesses, why is Apple building their “spaceship campus” there?

    Seriously, this guy is trying to spin the story to make his agency look good. Is anyone surprised? But I doubt if anything special about Phoenix and/or Arizona, other than Apple’s prior investment in the site, had anything to do with their decision.

    1. It’s not just “the right” who see California as anti-business, and its regulatory and tax policies have become increasingly so over the past couple of decades.

      Apple is building its new campus in California not because it’s so good in the state, but because Apple has been headquartered in the area for decades; a very large fraction of its upper management and engineering resources are already in place, and it would be even worse to uproot all that for a better location in some place like, say, Texas.

      Disclaimer: I worked in Apple engineering in Cupertino for five years as part of my 30+ year career in Silicon Valley. After retiring from which, I have moved out of the state; the cost of living is too high to stay in the state where I lived for more than 64 years.

  4. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. Apple had a steaming pile and decided that they had enough money to use it for something useful. It proves nothing about Arizona and their business climate. As a matter of fact, it disproves more than anything that the the state welfare to business is necessary for a healthy company.


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