Construction has begun on Apple’s 338,000-square-foot, $68 million data-center building in Prineville, Ore. — the first of two giant structures planned for the property.

The Oregonian reports that Apple has cleared and flattened land for the building, which will be twice the size of a Costco warehouse. Apple’s facility sits right across from Facebook’s equally-large data center.

After securing 160 acres of land for $5.6 million in February, Apple quickly built a 10,000 square-foot modular data center on the site. There are plans to build two data center buildings and possibly more structures.

Not surprisingly, Apple has been mum on the details, but intrepid Oregonian tech reporter Mike Rogoway spotted a security guard on the site wearing a jacket with an Apple logo.

Data centers don’t employ many workers, but they have sprung up in the Northwest with great frequency in recent years in part due to the cheap hydroelectric power from Columbia River and — in the case of Prineville — the cool night air. Some have raised concern about using up excessive amounts of energy. This GreenPeace report from last April looks at how the big tech companies stack up with the environmental-friendliness of their data centers.

In addition to Apple and Facebook, Google and have large data centers in Oregon, while companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Intuit have put operations near Quincy, Washington.

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  • Guest

    Thank you, Apple, for investing in our region!

  • guest

    Looks like Apple is rapidly catching up on the cloud front and will end up being a major player there too. Don’t like everything about them, but have to admit they’re the best run, best executing company in technology and have been for nearly a decade now. A very impresive run. Are they that good or are MS and others just that bad? Combo of both, it would seem.

  • Mike_Acker

    the “cloud”,…. is all about ownership: who owns the data? “the cloud” (warehouse) is not a happening. it is being pushed . you no longer purchase your copy of a data object: you get a license to access the warehouse copy. but control stays in the warehouse

    • guest

      And your point is?

  • Glenn Fleishman

    The jobs thing is interesting. Facebook says it employed, I think, 1,200 people over the construction of its first data center, with an average of a couple hundred people every day. That money trickles into the community. About 60 people (last summer) worked at the Facebook D.C., and the income from those jobs tends to be far higher than the city/county average. Then there’s also various local taxes, even though some were waived, including on electricity consumed.

    So it’s good to measure the economic impact both directly in jobs and indirectly as a “cloud” (sorry) of related spending on construction, trickle-down spending from higher salaries, and taxes paid (when they are paid).

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