Apple may follow in the footsteps of Facebook and build a 31-megawatt data center in Prineville, Oregon. The Cupertino company is considering the 160-acre property because of Oregon's low energy cost. The state also has a favorable tax break that could save Apple millions in property taxes.
Apple is supposedly negotiating under the code name Maverick and is close to making a decision, said people familiar with the matter. According to Crook County planning director Bill Zelenka, Maverick has the option to purchase 160 acres, currently owned by the county. The company must make a decision by the end of the month or risk losing the option to buy this parcel of land.
What makes this deal possible is an ongoing upgrade in the county's electrical transmission capacity. This improvement should be completed by June 2013 and will give companies like Apple the power it needs for a large data center.
Cheap power and low taxes make this rural area attractive to companies like Apple and Facebook. One monkey wrench, though, is a law that lets the state tax a company on intangibles like the monetary value of a company's brand name. Both Apple and Facebook are concerned this "central assessment" could significantly raise taxes. Lawmakers plan to introduce a bill to stop this tax when they reconvenes in February, but that won't help Apple now. Zelenka notes that the company has not asked for an extension, which is an option if it wants to wait for the outcome of this legislation.