When GT Advanced announced its surprise bankruptcy filing, the first reaction from Apple was to stress that it is working to preserve the jobs in the Mesa, Arizona, factory. More than a month after the initial announcement, Apple has reinforced its commitment to keeping jobs by repurposing the building they bought for more than $100 million last year.
You may recall that GT Advanced presented a plan last month in which it intends to shut down the Mesa plant where it employs more than 700 people, leaving them without a job as early as next year. Apple’s plans, however, haven’t changed after its sapphire crystal supplier’s bankruptcy, Mesa’s Mayor John Giles told Bloomberg.
“They’ve indicated their commitment to us: They want to repurpose that building and use it again,” Mesa City Manager Christopher Brady said in a recent interview. Apple has said it’s focused “on preserving jobs in Arizona” and promised to “work with state and local officials as we consider our next steps.”
Right now, Apple has a factory of more than 1.3 million square feet in Mesa with a new power substation built for the plant originally purposed to host sapphire crystal production. The iPhone maker received other benefits as well, such as the state cutting potential property taxes by more than 70%.
“Apple could’ve invested in a facility literally anywhere in the world,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles, who is planning to visit Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, to show the city’s support. “There’s a reason they came here, and none of those reasons have changed.”
At this point, it is unclear what Apple’s exact goal is with this facility, but you may recall that the company was working hard to bring back at least some of the production to the US. The case with GT Advanced shows the challenges the company needs to overcome to build a US manufacturing base.