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Apple building new downtown Reno facilities to support its iCloud data center

Where is Apple building in downtown Reno?

The TV station's "project behind despite tax breaks" story was also based on the assumption that Apple is backing a "light industrial" development slated for Fifth and Center, which remains an empty lot months after the project's approval.

Reno building

That lot and the project planned for it (pictured above) was first assumed to be Apple's project by Brian Duggan of the Reno Gazette Journal.

Given that it was expected that Apple would begin the first phase of construction in 2012, the TV station put two and two together and decided that, because the lot was still vacant, Apple's entire project was running behind schedule.

That assumption was not unlike the conclusions jumped to by national media outlets who have insisted that a reported change in iPhone 5 production orders or guesses about the cost escalations of Apple's planned Campus 2 project can be correctly interpreted by people who know nothing about global operations and project management.

Can't confirm or deny, must assume

However, it's not clear that the downtown site identified as belonging to Apple is in fact, Apple's planned operations center.

Duggan's report simply noted that, "officially, developers and city planning officials say they cannot confirm or deny if that tenant is Apple, Inc., which plans to build an assembly facility in downtown Reno."

He subsequently reached this conclusion on his own: "And that likely means one thing: The building pictured above is almost certainly going to be Apple's downtown facility that will assemble computer servers destined for Apple's data center located 11 miles east of Sparks (which is currently under construction)."

Why Apple would build a 15,000 square foot "light industrial" building in order to assemble computers for its data center fifteen miles away remains a mystery, particularly given the fact that no server assembly building was required for its operational Maiden, N.C. data center (pictured below).

Apple Maiden NC Data Center

Apple's data center in Maiden, NC

On top of that, Apple's first phase of construction began last fall at the RTP, resulting in the 20,000 square foot pilot facility AppleInsider exclusively broke news of earlier this spring (pictured below).

Apple Reno data center site

Surely, if Apple needs a large, permanent building to assemble servers for use in its data center now under construction, it would use the building it already has next door, not assemble the servers in downtown Reno and then drive them twenty miles for installation.

That means there's no evidence that Apple is behind schedule at all, and only a widely-held assumption that Apple is behind a project that has been approved but hasn't started yet.

It would appear that the operations facility Apple plans to situate in downtown Reno won't be needed until the data center is closer to being operational itself. That is supported by information AppleInsider has obtained pointing to a different location for Apple facilities in downtown Reno.