What does the Cupertino, Calif., maker of iPods and iPads need acreage in rural North Carolina for? The Fulbrights' property is adjacent to the plot where Apple is building a 500,000-square-foot warehouse that will store the servers and generators delivering the growing amount of songs, movies and apps downloaded daily to those iPods and iPads.
But it took a while for Apple to convince the Fulbrights to sell.
They had no interest in moving. When Apple came knocking, they declined an offer, then a second. Finally, "they told us to put a price on it, and we did," says Kathy Fulbright, 62. With the sale proceeds, the couple bought 49 acres nearby and built a 4,200-square-foot house with a Jacuzzi in the master bathroom, and a manmade pond stocked with catfish and bass.
Apple will finish its center by year's end. Stock analysts following Apple believe that Browse through photos of millions of home listings or search foreclosure listings the company will use it to let customers stream and store music and videos remotely, but Apple has not divulged its plans yet.
More rural homeowners, especially in North Carolina, Virginia and other Southern states, may also get the opportunity to cash out on their homes. Google already has a data center in a county that neighbors the location of the new Apple center. More states are offering tax breaks to woo tech companies data centers to their towns. Virginia and North Carolina are battling it out for Microsoft's newest data center. Facebook and Twitter also are looking for rural locations for their data centers.
States believe the tech companies' warehouses will add jobs. That's debatable, as well as whether they will improve property values. But one thing for sure, it might be wise to buy some rural property in the South and, like the Fulbrights, wait for a tech behemoth to come knocking a few times before cashing out for as much as you can.
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