Apple Inc. needed land owned by Donnie and Kathy Fulbright for a $1-billion data center in rural North Carolina. The couple showed no interest in moving from their home of 34 years in the town of Maiden.
The Fulbrights say they spurned one offer, then a second. Finally, they agreed to sell for $1.7 million, county records show, opting to leave the single-story house on the less than one acre of land they purchased for $6,000.
“They told us to put a price on it and we did,” said Kathy Fulbright, 62, seated on a brown leather sofa in the living room of the home she and her husband built with the proceeds. The 49-acre property boasts a 4,200-square-foot house with a Jacuzzi in the master bathroom, as well as a manmade pond stocked with bass and catfish.
Apple was willing to pay up to get the land in its drive to improve digital entertainment services that fuel demand for iPods, iPhones and iPads. The plot is adjacent to the site where Apple is building a 500,000-square-foot, warehouse-like structure that analysts say will brim with servers, generators and other gear that make it easier to deliver songs, TV episodes and movies via the iTunes online store.
The center is due to be completed by year’s end. It will help Apple customers stream and store music and videos remotely.