Apple considering downtown location and data center


This has probably been the best kept secret of the past year or so. I first heard the rumor 6 months ago, but filed it under 'yeah right' right along with Wingfield Towers and the Waterfront Project.

However today, the city council is going to look at and discuss, incentives to convince Apple to build both a data center in Sparks and an office complex of some kind within the Tessera Star Bond District downtown, which is bound by Virginia Street on the west, Evans Avenue on the east, 5th Street on the south and Interstate 80 on the north.

The 350-acre data center is of course exciting, but I am even more excited about the business center downtown. Northern Nevada Urban Development LLC owns a large chunk of land in this area, as evidenced by this slightly-outdated map. Most of the multi-block Tessera project was also listed for sale for $10M with “STARR Bonds Available”.  These are not the Brown Nevada or Northern Nevada Urban Development owned properties along North Virginia, but the lots East of Center and North of 6th to the freeway.

The area is kind of a no-man's-land between downtown and the University, and hopefully it's about to be revitalized in a big way. Both the data center and office complex could pump $1 billion into our local and state economy over the next 10 years. Click here for the staff reports to read the proposed deal in full detail. The incentives, according to RGJ, amount to $89 million over the next decade, effectively reducing Apple’s tax burden by 79 percent. It's all contained in the staff reports, though it's a lengthy read.

The news has instantly made national tech-publications like Wired. The project has a nick name, Project Jonathan. Construction is set to start in August, if everything goes as planned.

My initial thoughts? I haven't had a chance to fully read the staff reports, because I'm actually giving my own presentation to the city council today about the site and app, but provided it doesn't involve bonds, of which I doubt Reno could secure at this point anyway, I say go for it. I don't mind giving tax breaks to a company like Apple for what I hope will be a catalyst project which will lure other tech companies here. Where I think the city gets in trouble is when they commit to long term bond payments.