Apple to make $1 billion investment in Reno area over decade

RENO – Computer giant Apple wants to open facilities in Sparks and Reno as part of a proposed $1 billion investment in Northern Nevada over the next decade.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that local officials are in the process of approving an incentive package that includes $89 million in county, city and state tax abatements. Analysts say that’s a 79 percent reduction in the company’s tax burden.

Steve Hill of the Nevada Office on Economic Development said the tax breaks are critical for Nevada to compete with other potential Apple sites, including sales tax-free Oregon.

The project would include a data center east of Sparks to house Apple’s cloud computing service, and a business and purchasing center in downtown Reno. Hill says approvals could take a month, and construction could begin as early as August.

Tax breaks include an 85 percent reduction in the personal property tax for 10 to 30 years. If all local governments approve the deal, Apple’s effective sales tax rate will be less than 1 percent.

State and local governments, meanwhile, would collect about $16 million in tax revenue from Apple over the next 10 years.

The Reno newspaper reports that Applied Economics of Las Vegas has estimated the overall economic impact of the project at $343 million, which includes as many as 41 full-time jobs at the data center and 200 contract employees. About 580 construction jobs are planned – an estimated $103 million economic impact.

In the works for a year, the deal became public Tuesday when city and county officials posted staff reports online. The Washoe County Commission on Tuesday approved its share of abatements for Apple’s planned data center in the Reno Technology Park. The Reno City Council will consider its portion of tax abatements today.

Hill said Apple chose the Reno area to diversify its locations and to capitalize on Reno’s vicinity to its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., about a four-hour drive away.

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