Investor couple makes killing on Apple, without owning shares

Tech giant pays seven figures for plot of land it needs for massive data center


Donnie and Kathy Fulbright of North Carolina will tell you: Real estate is all about location.

Back in the mid-1970s the young couple was shrewd enough to snatch up a tiny parcel of land in Maiden, N.C., and build a modest home, knowing full well that 34 years later, a three-person computer start-up no one had ever heard of but which would become the biggest personal technology company in the world would require that very plot of land for part of a massive data center it urgently needed to build.

Whether prescience or luck, the Fulbrights recently turned their $6,000 investment into a new life. As this Bloomberg News article explains, Apple paid the couple $1.7 million for their land (less than one acre).

But the couple didn't just grab at the first offer like a pair of goggle-eyed hicks. The Fulbrights said they rejected two previous offers from Apple before being told to name their price.

Apple intends to build a $1 billion, 500,000-square-foot data center to help store and manage the digital content Apple streams through its iTunes online store.

The Fulbrights used the $1.7 million to buy 3,400 iPads. Just kidding. They bought a 4,200-square-foot house on 49 acres of land a couple of towns away. Good for them.

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