Apple may build data center in Oregon

Company is looking at buying land in Prineville, a community already a magnet for tech companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, sources tell The Oregonian.

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Apple is reportedly considering beefing up its data center muscle by building a new facility in central Oregon.

The tech giant is exploring the possibility of constructing a 31-megawatt data center on 160 acres near Prineville, Ore., people familiar with the matter tell The Oregonian. The company, which is negotiating with the city under the code name "Maverick," is expected to make a decision this month on whether to purchase the property, the newspaper reports. The property is owned by Crook County and is about a quarter mile south of where Facebook opened a server farm last year, the newspaper reports.

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the Oregonian reports that the company had a team looking at Facebook's operation last summer.

"Apple would be the latest in a quick succession of big-name tech companies to build a data center in Oregon," Oregonian reporter Mike Rogoway wrote. "The state is a hot destination for server farms, which attract huge investment but employ relatively few."

In addition to Facebook, Google and Amazon also have data farms in the town, which has a population of 7,356, according to the 2010 census. Google and Amazon also have facilities in the region. The state's mild climate, low power costs, and tax breaks make the area very attractive for tech companies' server needs.

The decision is being held up by the question of whether there would be adequate electricity to meet the company's needs, the newspaper's sources said. Local utility Bonneville Power Administration has been working to upgrade a substation in the area by 2013--a year ahead of schedule.

If constructed, a Prineville facility would join Apple's 500,000-square-foot behemoth of a data center in Maiden, N.C. Apple has reportedly spent $1 billion on the facility, which the company is using to power the cloud services it is working on, according to numerous sources.