By Rebekah Morris for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
If Apple was trying to go “incognito”, they might have chosen a less auspicious name for a development company.
Platypus Development Inc. is the shell company on applications for work at the former First Solar Plant in East Mesa. Not coincidentally, the address is listed as 1 Infinite Loop Way, Cupertino, Calif., the same address as Apple HQ. The project codename is Project Tilden.
Last year’s announcement by Apple was widely reported – just about every media outlet (AZBEX included) picked up the story about the tech giant bringing a data center to the East Mesa area. The news quickly faded from view aside from a blip by City of Mesa Mayor Giles in May reiterating the same story – Apple is bringing a data center to East Mesa.
Fast-forward almost a year later and the project has quietly proceeded through approvals and is now hosting hundreds of craftsmen each day of the week completing an intense build out in short order.
Data Center Conversion
The storied structure was originally constructed as a First Solar manufacturing facility but never fitted out with equipment. Next, with much fanfare, it was proclaimed a manufacturing facility for Apple vendor GT Advanced Technology (GTAT) with massive amounts of highly specialized equipment moved in; but the plant never reached production.
Most recently the structure sold to Apple and was announced as a data center for the firm. Perhaps now it will finally see its first operating tenant.
The building encompasses over 1.3MSF. Viewed from Ellsworth or Signal Butte roads, the scale of the building is impressive. Converting such a large space to the tightly conditioned and controlled environment needed for a critical load data center is no small task.
The majority of the work is electrical and mechanical, fitting out the space to handle the never-ending racks that are no doubt planned for the center. Permit documents call out Phase I as creating a 24MW critical load data center, with the full build out coming in at 120MW data center.
In addition, three POP/POEs of critical IT load is part of the current scope of work. Existing electrical spaces will be renovated to accommodate this new use, as well as renovations to the existing loading docks and a new roof over the new data center racks.
Also included in this first phase of work is new private and open office space, conference room and meeting spaces, new breakroom dining space, and quiet room.
Fall 2016 Completion
From public records AZBEX has learned that the substantial completion date is September 2016. A tight, nine-month project schedule compresses an awful lot of work into that timeframe. Our reporters drove out to the site last Friday and saw what they described as “hundreds” of craft labor on site.
The third time really is a charm for that facility.
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