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Apple plans major expansions at Arizona and Nevada data centers

Apple's Mesa, Ariz., global command center.

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Apple is looking to bolster its services backend with major expansions at existing data centers in Arizona and Nevada, including a $1 billion investment that doubles its commitment to a Reno Technology Park facility.

According to AppleInsider sources, construction of a previously planned "phase 2" addition to Apple's Mesa, Ariz., data center is well underway. Contractors are busy outfitting the facility with new equipment, while construction crews work to build out roads and supporting infrastructure surrounding the campus.

Apple is expected to further increase the size of its Arizona data center in the near future as part of a "phase 3" expansion, sources said.

In 2015, Apple promised to invest $2 billion over ten years in a global command data center to be built at the site of the company's failed sapphire production project. That commitment was later raised to $2 billion over five years, with plans to set aside additional funding for 30 years.

The upcoming phase 3 upgrades have not been disclosed publicly, but are thought to be part of the previously announced investment.

Apple's Mesa data center was built out on property initially leased by Apple as part of a $578 million contract with sapphire producer GT Advanced Technologies. The deal went sour in 2014 after GT Advanced failed to meet Apple's strict production expectations, prompting the small firm to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Once GT Advanced vacated the lease, Apple transformed the large 1.3-million-square-foot plot into a global command center powered by renewable energy, including an on-site solar farm.

Separately, Apple representatives on Wednesday announced a $1 billion expansion of its Reno, Nev., data center, doubling the company's initial investment in the region, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal.

During a Reno City Council meeting, Apple director of state and local affairs Mike Foulkes said the project will create "hundreds of jobs in construction and operation."

Foulkes was on hand to discuss a proposed agreement that would grant Apple $6 million in sales tax abatements. As part of the deal, Apple will build a shipping and receiving warehouse — a purchase rumored earlier this week — on a now vacant lot in downtown Reno. The plot is zoned as a tourism improvement district, meaning the company is subject to lower sales tax rates on equipment bound for the data center.

The Reno City Council approved Apple's proposal in a 6 to 1 vote.