Officials approve $1.3 billion Apple data center in Waukee

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WAUKEE, Iowa (WOI) -- The City of Waukee and the Iowa Economic Development Authority have approved a site for tech giant Apple, Inc. to build a data center.

As WOI-TV reports, Waukee, Apple, and state leaders have been working on this deal for more than a year. Now the huge data center is a reality. It will be built west of T Avenue, on both the North and South sides of Hickman Road in Waukee.

The farmland will soon be transformed into two state-of-the-art Apple data centers, pushing Iowa further into the tech spotlight. The Iowa Economic Development Authority approved the project on Thursday. They say it will have lasting impacts.

"Any investment of $1.3 billion is a large investment and it's a commitment to wherever it might go,” said Iowa Economic Development Authority Chairman, Chris Murray. “We're just pleased that it is the State of Iowa, and we're looking for longevity and continuing the technology track record that the State of Iowa has exhibited thus far."

Apple now joins the likes of Google, Facebook and Microsoft, who chose Iowa for their data centers. Apple CEO Tim Cook explained why Iowa is so important.

"We're here today because across Iowa, businesses, schools, developers and government are coming together to build a new home for innovation in America's heartland,” said Cook.

However, innovation is expensive. It will cost Apple $1.3 billion to put everything in place. The tech company will get $207 million in incentives for the project. That includes $20 million from the State of Iowa and $188 million in property tax abatements from Waukee over the next 20 years. The City of Waukee says this is a big moment for them.

"We're a fast-growing community, this will allow us to have money and capital to put into parks to maybe put into other civic buildings. So this will allow us to do things we couldn't do before,” said Waukee Community and Economic Development Director, Dan Dutcher.

The project will only bring in 50 new jobs, but experts say there will be a ripple effect.

"The long-term effects of additional technological companies, services construction jobs, all of those things from day one to the end of time, are going to be continued growth,” said Murray.

Just as Iowa leaders are excited, Apple is too.

"At Apple, we admire what you guys have accomplished and we want to be a part of it," said Cook.

The two main state-of-the-art facilities will also be 100 percent renewable. They will take some time to build. One is scheduled to be completed in 2020, the other in 2021.