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Waukee leaders, business owners see opportunity in Apple data center

Apple is one step closer to making Waukee home. All the tech giant needs to build a center on Hickman is the green light from city council.

WAUKEE, Iowa — Apple is one step closer to making Waukee home after the city's planning and zoning commission voted this week to move the project forward.

The plan for the data center was originally proposed in 2017 but delayed due to the pandemic. Now with renewed momentum, residents hope the development will bring more business and job opportunities to the city. 

"It is an almost $1.4 billion dollar project over the next several years, and that has a lot of impact from a commercial valuation perspective for the City of Waukee," Mayor Courtney Clarke said. "That's important for us as we move forward, and being able to lower our property taxes and just maintain the services that we provide to our residents."

Clarke is excited to be entering what she said is phase one of a multi-building plan spanning several years.

"The first phase will include a 316,000-square-foot data center and 64,000-square-foot admin building and a 10,000-square-foot maintenance building," Clarke said. "There will be further built out after that."

Waukee business owners are also excited for the opportunity to get more customers in the door

"I hope it keeps the business coming and keeps my regular customers regulars and the new customers coming in," said Echo Boland, the owner of Echo's Cookies.

Clarke said the development will provide jobs for more than 500 workers.

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"Each set of two data centers are expected to have an administration building, attached each administration building should have approximately 50 jobs associated with it," she said. "Additionally, there are almost 800 temporary construction jobs for each phase of building that are expected."

Boland is thrilled for construction to start, and when it does, she has a way for workers to enjoy her cookies any time of day.

"When this does start getting built up in here with the workers, I hope they use my machine for their daily snacks," Boland said, referring to the cookie vending machine outside her building.

Clarke said Apple tells her they have been very focused on how they can partner with the city long-term and be supportive of public improvements.

Apple provided the following statement in response to request for comment:

"We are proud to be part of the community in Waukee, and of our many contributions to the city, including contributing more than $5.5 million to local projects like the new Triumph Park. Our new data center will create hundreds of local jobs and we look forward to breaking ground in the coming months."

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