Apple to open Phoenix-area plant, employ 700 - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

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Apple to open Phoenix-area plant, employ 700

Apple to open manufacturing plant in Mesa. (Source: CBS 5 News) Apple to open manufacturing plant in Mesa. (Source: CBS 5 News)
MESA, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

Tech giant Apple says it will open a manufacturing plant in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa and eventually employ 700 workers.

The Cupertino, CA, maker of the iPhone confirmed Monday that it is expanding its U.S. manufacturing operations in a former First Solar plant in Mesa. The city southeast of Phoenix already hosts a long list of high-tech manufacturing firms.

About 1,300 construction jobs will also be created as the First Solar plant designed to make thin-film solar panels is converted. The company sold the plant last month.

Apple spokeswoman Kristen Huguet says the plant will be powered with renewable energy provided by local utility Salt River Project.

"This is a perfect example of the city of Mesa's commitment to being a leader in bringing new, private investment to our state and region," Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said.

"The continued growth in the Gateway area, particularly in the technology, aerospace and education sectors, is a good indication that the city's proactive strategy and approach to economic development is working," Smith said. 

Gov. Jan Brewer said Apple's decision is a sign that the Arizona's efforts to provide a pro-business climate are paying off.

"Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona and its decision to locate here speaks volumes about the friendly, pro-business climate we have been creating these past four years," Brewer said in a statement.

"There's a lot of pressures, I think, on Apple to do more business within the confines of the United States," said WP Carey School of Business professor Dennis Hoffman. He said many questions still remain.

"Will assembly take place in the United States, will assembly be shipped back to Asia, will assembly go to Mexico?" Hoffman asked.

This is all good news for Arizona, likely the product of our strong labor force, sunshine, and low tax rate, Hoffman said. And perhaps it is a signal of what's to come.

"We've been waiting for the California invasion," Hoffman said.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.  CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.

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