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Foxconn plant coming to Mount Pleasant (UPDATE)

It’s official: Foxconn Technology Group has chosen land in Mount Pleasant as the site of what it has said will be a $10 billion manufacturing campus.

Foxconn officials said at a news conference on Wednesday that they will build a factory for the production of liquid-crystal display screens near the corner of Highway 11 and Interstate 94 in Racine County. Mount Pleasant has a population of about 26,000, and is about 25 miles south of Milwaukee and 60 miles north of Chicago.

Company officials said Wednesday that they have subdivided the site into three different proposed “project areas.” The first is bordered by Braun Road to the north, Highway H to the east, Highway KR to the south and the interstate to the west, and will be the location of the 20 million-square-foot plant itself.

A second area, just across Braun Road to the north, will be used for a future expansion. And the third, lying across Highway H and to the east of the site designated for the factory, will be used initially for construction staging and possibly for even more expansions in the future.

The project is expected to create more than 10,000 construction jobs, generating $2.41 billion in labor income for work performed in Racine County. Company officials also expect to initially hire 3,000 workers for the factory, a number that could increase to 13,000 over time. Those jobs are expected to pay $53,000 on average.

Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said he expects site work for the project to begin sometime near the end of the winter. The local workforce will be hard-pressed to come up with the skilled tradesmen needed for the project’s construction.

“There won’t be a dump truck left unattended for the next four years,” Sheehy said.

Wisconsin became the site for the project in part by offering Foxconn historically large subsidies. Gov. Scott Walker recently signed an incentive package that will provide the company with $3 billion worth of incentives as long as it hits certain hiring and spending goals. Mount Pleasant and Racine County meanwhile both plan to support the project through spending on water and sanitary sewers, road improvements, electric and natural gas service and fiber-optic cables.

“The Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County have been hard at work to craft a well thought-out, careful, and conservative local incentive package,” said Claude Lois, project director for Mount Pleasant. “We are committed to balancing the need to attract this long-term investment, while maintaining our commitment to local taxpayers.”

Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot said local officials are now working to assemble the land that Foxconn has chosen for its site. DeGroot said he and his colleagues have drawn up three separate purchasing options for each of the areas being sought by the company.

DeGroot did not say how many property owners would be selling their land to make way for the Foxconn project.

Beyond that, the village is looking to  provide assistance through the creation of new tax-increment-finance districts. In general, TIF districts work by capturing property taxes generated by new construction or rising property values in a particular area and setting the money aside to pay for infrastructure projects in the same place.

Local leaders will be holding information sessions related to the needed infrastructure work. Those are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks at various places in Racine County.

The meetings will be held:

  • From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 11 at Mount Pleasant Village Hall
  • From 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Memorial Hall in Racine
  • Between 5 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Veteran’s Terrace in Burlington

Jenny Trick, executive director of the Racine County Economic Development Corp., said the Foxconn plant only marks the start of what she expects to be a string of economic development projects.

“This is the launching point for future investments in Racine County that will improve the quality of life for local residents and create new opportunities for the entire region,” she said.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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