Apple Moving to Signal Butte and Elliot: Will Be Bringing 700 Jobs

Governor Brewer announced today that Apple will be moving into the existing First Solar plant at Signal Butte and Elliot, and will create more than 700 jobs.

“This will create at least 700 quality jobs in the first year and generate significant capital investment,” Brewer said.

The First Solar plant at Signal Butte and Elliot is huge. Taking up 1.3 million square feet – the size of 43 football fields – the plant built by First Solar has yet to house employees.  After changes in the solar panel industry, First Solar is selling the plant it recently completed. Apple is buying it and will create 1,300 jobs for construction, engineering, and retrofitting it to git their needs.

Rumors had been floating about Apple’s interest in a manufacturing plant in the U.S. Arizona was in the running for an Apple facility in 2012, but Austin, Texas won out over Arizona. Governor Jan Brewer confirmed that the rumors were correct on November 4, 2013.

“Apple is indisputably one of the world’s most innovative companies and I’m thrilled to welcome them to Arizona,” said Brewer.

The factory will be run by GT Advanced Technologies, Inc, which is a company that supplies components for Apple’s products.

“We are proud to expand our domestic manufacturing initiative with a new facility in Arizona, creating more than 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction,” Apple said in a statement Monday.

Earlier this month, word got out that First Solar was selling the plant for $100 million, but no buyer was announced, and First Solar has been very coy with any details of the sale.

Greater Phoenix Economic Council CEO Barry Broome, in an interview with KTAR-FM 92.3 said that the buyer was “some kind of advanced manufacturing” business. Rumors have also included GoDaddy, but GoDaddy’s spokeswoman Stephanie Bracken said, “This isn’t GoDaddy.”

“Apple’s confidence in Arizona and its selection of Mesa as the site of its newest manufacturing facility represents an enormous win for our state and a historic investment in our community,” said Sandra Watson of the Arizona Commerce Authority

Extending the “Silicon Desert” reputation of Chandler into Southeast Mesa is a coup for the area, and a big push for DMB development at Eastmark, which has suffered setbacks due to Gaylord Entertainment’s resort that didn’t occur, but which has seen recent wins such as the announced development of a full campus for Grand Canyon University.

The move should be excellent for East Mesa real estate, resulting in increased buyer activity and higher demand in Southeast Mesa zip codes 85212 and 85209, as well as increased local purchases in the Mesa Gateway area.  New employees would likely seek out 85212 homes for sale and 85209 homes for sale over more remote areas with a commute.

Brewer said bringing Apple to Arizona was a collaborative effort led by the Arizona Commerce Authority, chaired by Brewer, in conjunction with partners at Salt River Project, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the city of Mesa and Maricopa County

– by YOUR COMMUNITY CONNECTION Staff Writers

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