In addition to 150 Apple supervisors, as many as 500 contract employees could work at the Mesa command center that is to open early next year on the southwest corner of Signal Butte and Elliot roads, Mesa Mayor John Giles said May 19.
“We will have 150 Apple-badged employees that will be executive-level, highly skilled Apple supervisors. I believe several of those will come from Cupertino, but Apple’s also committed to creating new jobs using local talent, so it is a great opportunity for new employment here in Mesa,” Mayor Giles said at a May 19 media briefing at his office, 20 E. Main St. Suite No. 750.
“All of the ‘cloud’ – all of the Apple Cloud operations … worldwide – will be managed out of this facility. So that means anytime you log onto iTunes or Apple Store, use any of the Apple Cloud operations, a light and a bell will go off in Mesa, Arizona. So literally the Apple Cloud will be floating over Mesa, Arizona,” he said. “If you think about just the global scope of the Apple brand and how many millions – if not billions – of people are walking around with Apple devices in their pockets or pulling out Apple laptops and using the Apple Cloud operation on a daily if not hourly basis, that is just a huge undertaking. It is a huge technological task. So in addition to the 150 Apple-badged employees that will be here, there will at any given time be between 300 and 500 contract employees that are making this huge operation function.”
Apple in 2013 purchased the 1.2-million-square-foot facility from First Solar. It was to be used by Apple supplier GT Advanced Technologies to make sapphire glass and other Apple-product components. In October 2014 GT Advanced Technologies filed for bankruptcy protection and closed the site. But in February, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced that Apple would be opening a command center in Mesa for the company’s global networks, according to a press release.
“There’s also a huge financial investment in this facility,” Mayor Giles said May 19. “Going forward, Apple will over the next few years spend $2 billion in improvements to that building. So obviously the economic impact of just the construction activity is very significant, but then the ongoing economic impact of the several hundred jobs that will be there between the Apple-badged employees and the contract employees and the suppliers and the other folks who will be related to Apple is going to extremely significant,” he said.
The Apple facility is near one end of the city of Mesa’s 1.5-square-mile Elliot Road technology corridor. It is on the north side of the 8400 through 10800 blocks of East Elliot Road between Hawes and Signal Butte roads on the north side of Elliot to the Salt River Project transmission line easement approximately one-half mile to the north, according to city records.
“Apple, given the strength of its brand, will be a draw for our Elliot Road high-tech corridor,” Mayor Giles said. “All along that Elliot Road corridor the city has made substantial investment in terms of utilities and dark (fiber),” he said.
Mayor Giles said he had been traveling on city business and went to Cupertino, California, to visit with Apple executives. They included Apple’s CFO, Luca Maestri, according to a May 8 post at www.facebook.com/MesaMayorsOffice.
“Cupertino, as you may know, is the current one-and-only worldwide headquarters for the Apple Corp. I say it that way because the first part of next year Apple will have two worldwide headquarters – one in Cupertino and the next one in Mesa, Arizona. After having spent the day with Apple, I can tell you I am more excited than ever with this wonderful blessing that we have to be the next home of a worldwide Apple headquarters,” Mayor Giles said May 19.
When Gov. Ducey made the announcement in February, the Mesa facility was expected to have 150 full-time Apple employees, with 300-500 construction and trade jobs, according to the press release.
Mesa City Councilman Kevin Thompson, District 6, said May 20 that he is glad the number of employees has increased.
“I am really excited about the Apple announcement and the fact they are going to be providing more jobs than they originally estimated for our citizens,” he said. “For the technology corridor, I am constantly looking at that and trying to figure out what is the one thing that we need that can really set that off and get that area growing and this could be it. I know that we are constantly looking at businesses talking to developers and seeing what we can do out there so it’s an exciting time for Mesa. I know that our previous council and our staff really built a lot of momentum out there and for me, I want to continue with that momentum and keep moving us forward and hopefully we’ll have good things to announce in the near future.”
Mesa City Councilman David Luna, District 5, said May 20 that Apple coming to Mesa will help the Elliot Road technology corridor.
“I think it’s really exciting. Certainly Apple is a worldwide company that has a lot of value and certainly being a part of the Mesa community is something that we are very proud of,” he said. “Certainly it is going to expand the corridor. Our hope is eventually it will attract other businesses to come into the community and expand the technology opportunities available,” he said.
“We are hoping that will engender certainly more employment in the city of Mesa. We certainly have Apple here and we are hoping that other suppliers may want to come and join with them,” Councilman Luna said.