Two weeks ago, the Arizona Commerce Authority announced a sapphire manufacturing project by Apple in Mesa, AZ. Now the ACA has released details about the incentives awarded to Apple and GT Advanced Technologies Inc. to secure and facilitate the project.
The company was left unidentified in official documents, which mention the project only as Project Cascade.
GT Advanced Technologies Inc. is leasing the site from Apple, which purchased the property from First Solar. Apple also signed a contract with GT Advanced Technologies for supply of sapphire, and prepaid $578 million. GT Advanced Technologies will use this funding to renovate and equip the facility and operate it.
Project Cascade will create around 1300 construction jobs. As per the agreement, the project must subsequently create at least 700 full-time jobs with average annual wages of at least $45,000.
The project represents a $1.5 billion capital investment in the state. As per an economic impact study, Project Cascade will generate $102 million in tax revenue in the first five years of operations.
Arizona has approved Apple for a $10 million grant as incentives for the project, to be paid from the Arizona Completes Fund.
GT Advanced Technologies may additionally qualify for refundable income tax credits equivalent to 10 percent of its capital investment. The company will be installing and operating furnaces at the facility.
Local incentives include a massive property tax break of 75-80 percent made possible by designating the 433-acre site for Project Cascade as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ).
The FTZ designation had to be approved by eight local taxing entities that stand to lose revenue due to the property’s reclassification.
Seven of the boards had already signed off on it, and the board of the last one – the Gilbert Unified School District, approved a no-objection resolution on Monday, clearing the way for Apple and GT Advanced Technologies to get started with the project.