Business Insider reports Apple is seeking approval to use the former GT Advanced sapphire plant located in Mesa, Arizona to produce “finished server assembly cabinets” for use in its U.S. data centers.
A notification published in the Federal Register on Monday said Apple was looking for approval from the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to produce “finished products” in a special zone that exempts it from customs duty payments.
“Apple Inc has repurposed the site as a global data command center that will conduct high-tech manufacturing of finished data center cabinets for other data centers,” according to a document filed by Mesa on behalf of Apple in June and made public Monday.
Apple is seeking the approval to use materials sourced from abroad. A person with knowledge of Apple’s data center plans told Business Insider Apple data center server production will be consolidated in the Mesa facility.
Apple currently builds and tests servers for its Oregon and North Carolina data centers on-site, and follows similar procedures in its global data centers. Once the Mesa facility is ready, the Cupertino firm will build and configure all of its U.S. servers there and ship them to the North Carolina and Oregon facilities.
The Mesa, Arizona facility was originally acquired by Apple for use by sapphire maker GT Advanced. Apple was left holding the facility when the New Hampshire-based company failed to produce sapphire glass up to Apple’s standards and went bankrupt.
Apple announced plans to reuse the plant in 2014, and was reported to be ready to turn the 1.3 million square feet facility into a “global command center” for Apple’s data center network.