Apple is going ahead with a major expansion of its Prineville, Oregon data center, reports The Oregonian. The expansion comes shortly after Governor Kate Brown signed a bill killing a controversial tax potentially threatening data center projects in the area.
Apple has not confirmed the expansion. However, on Oregon Public Broadcasting, Judge Mike McCabe, Crook County’s administrator, said Apple is planning a major expansion but details of that project remain under negotiation.
Uncertainty about how a central assessment tax might apply to data centers stood to potentially threaten big projects. The tax took global brand value into consideration, causing several big tech residents of Oregon to allegedly halt data center expansions.
Lawmakers said that Apple had halted plans to add a second 340,000 square foot data hall in Prineville along with a solar farm. Amazon also allegedly halted construction of several data centers while the issue was being resolved, however there’s no word yet of this project resuming.
The recent bill exempting data centers from central assessment has many predicting a data center building boom in rural Oregon will now resume. Facebook also appears more favorable to expansion in the area following the bill, according to reports.
Exempting data centers means fewer tax dollars for counties per project. Data centers remain major contributors to local economies.
Oregon has been a magnet for big data center construction projects in recent years. Apple invested in a data center in Prineville, close to a massive Facebook site there, and Google has spent well over one billion expanding in Oregon. Amazon used a modular design to build its data center there.
A recently upgraded electrical substation in Crook County has created capacity for additional data centers in Prineville.