A new report from Bloomberg takes a look at how Mesa, Arizona was able to secure its deal with Apple to bring the company's new sapphire manufacturing plant to the city. That facility is set to begin operation this month with production at a scale massive enough to support a shift to sapphire display covers for the next-generation iPhone.
The report notes that Mesa and the State of Arizona moved aggressively to reach a deal with Apple and its partner, GT Advanced Technologies, learning from previous negotiations that saw Arizona lose out to Austin, Texas for an expansion of Apple's operations facilities. As a result, Mesa and Arizona officials made every effort to offer specific incentives, expedite permitting approvals, and even build out power infrastructure to meet Apple's demands.
Time was of the essence since Arizona had lost out on the previous Apple facility to Texas less than two years earlier and was nervous others might trump its bid. Officials typically had just a few days to respond to Apple’s questions, [Mesa mayor Scott] Smith said.
One sticking point: power. Apple wanted the facility to use 100 percent renewable energy and negotiated with the state and local power company, Salt River Project, about how to make that happen. New solar and geothermal projects are being built because of the project. Apple also got officials to agree to construct a new power substation for the plant.
Other benefits for Apple include a $10 million grant from the state to support building improvements and hiring efforts, as well as a special designation for the property that will cut Apple's property taxes by over 70 percent.
Mesa and Arizona are already seeking to leverage Apple's arrival to create a new technology corridor in the area where Apple's facility is located, with a number of companies having already contacted officials to express interest in locating near Apple.