Apple, Incorporated has chosen Waukee for a new high-tech facility, joining other tech giants Microsoft, Google, and Facebook which built data centers in Iowa in recent years.
Apple will construct a $1.3 billion campus on 2000 acres to initially include two data centers, with additional expansion in the future.
Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham said, once completed, it will be the largest ever private investment in the state.
At a news conference on the capitol grounds, Apple CEO Tim Cook called Iowa a home for innovation.
“We see it in Iowa's world-class power grid and a focus on renewable energy that's a model for the entire nation,” Cook said. “At Apple we admire what you guys have accomplished and we want to be a part of it."
Earlier Thursday the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board approved $20 million in state tax incentives.
The City of Waukee will provide $188 million in property tax abatements.
Some Democratic critics questioned providing tax breaks for what Fortune 500 has called the most profitable company in the world.
Gov. Reynolds defended the incentives.
“If we want to grow this economy and provide more revenue then we should be doing what we can to bring jobs and businesses to the state of Iowa,” Reynolds said to reporters following the announcement. “This puts Iowa on the world stage.”
The project will create over 500 construction and operations jobs, and fifty permanent jobs once the first phase is completed in 2020.
The CEO said data centers form the backbone of the innovation infrastructure.
“Every day they make it possible for Apple users to send tens of billions of messages, to save more than a billion photos, and to place tens of millions of Facetime video calls,” Cook said. “And they will deliver the horsepower for the technologies of tomorrow.”
The Waukee facility will serve North American users of iMessage, Siri, the App Store, and other Apple services.