North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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Case studies "/ &9$&44 0' t was a standard industrial building: squat, utilitarian and covered in brick. Its fate was sealed eight years ago when &/&3(: * $IFBQ QMFOUJGVM QPXFS UIBU PODF SBO NJMMT BOE GBDUPSJFT BUUSBDUT EBUB DFOUFST By Edward Martin Challenge: Rutherford, Lenoir and Catawba counties are among the places that have suffered as textile and furniture factories have shuttered or moved offshore. Solution: The same power infrastructure built to supply old-line factories has attracted massive data centers for some of the biggest names in the technology sector. its workers were told that Asia had cut too heavily into the demand for domestic thread. So American & Efi rd Inc. and its Charlotte parent, Ruddick Corp., closed the plant and let 125 employees go. It was a blow to Maiden, a Catawba County town of about 3,500 with a fading heritage of cotton mills and textiles. The empty plant joined scores of other empty, aging factories dotting the region. In February 2010, a demolition crew knocked it down. But several miles away, a building was rising. Now, at 500,000 square feet, it could swallow American & Efi rd's plant six times over. The building's polished corridors are lined with rows of identical machines slightly bigger than refrigera- tors, their fronts decorated in graceful half-swirls, all bathed in cool, purifi ed air. Everything here, from massive computers and servers to the fl oor and ceiling, seems cast in gray and swathed in fl uorescent light, creating the aura of a spaceship. This, just miles from the vacant red-clay lot where American & Efi rd embodied old Tar Heel industry, is the $1 billion data center of Cupertino, Calif.- based Apple Inc., a central character in a new chapter of the state's economic history. American & Efi rd's plant and the ghosts of others like it seem to have little in common with Apple's data center and similar projects Top, Facebook's triplet servers will line its new building in Forest City. Bottom, Apple's $1 billion, 500,000-square-foot data center in Maiden is the company's largest. 16 North Carolina Economic Development Guide

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