Economic development officials in Catawba County, and a data center development group, had been talking with Apple for months to get the company interested in setting up its data center in town. Then the developer spent months making sure that an abandoned mill building - a remnant of the region's days as a vibrant textile manufacturing area - would be ready to house the new facility.
But as Apple executives got closer to making a decision, they suddenly decided that the building was just too small. It looked like Apple was going to have to go elsewhere for its massive 500,000 square-foot iCloud data center.
Turns out there was one more opportunity, three miles down the road was a 180-acre park which was supposed to be home to a handful of smaller data centers. Worried that Apple would walk, the company was offered the entire park.
"We almost lost it," said the President of the Catawba County Economic Development group, Scott Millar.
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