Five Wisconsin companies have won $34 million worth of utility and roadwork at Foxconn Technology Group’s Mount Pleasant factory site, construction officials announced on Thursday, a step that could herald the start of a busy construction season.
The selected contractors will perform work sought in two subsections of Foxconn’s third major bid package. The contracts call for installing utility equipment for use by manufacturing buildings and laying down a web of roadways at the site, among other site preparations.
The companies are:
- Giles Engineering Associates, of Waukesha, which will perform testing for quality control
- Staff Electric, of Menomonee Falls, which will install temporary electrical systems
- Hoffman Construction, of Black River Falls, which will install site utilities, including sanitary and water systems
- A.W. Oakes & Sons, of Racine, which will lay down concrete for roadways
- Payne & Dolan, of Waukesha, which will put down asphalt paving and markings
The construction contracts are the first Foxconn has awarded following the release in recent months of reports casting doubt on whether it would live up to its commitment to build a $10 billion factory in Racine County. On Thursday, Adam Jelen, senior vice president for the central and Midwest divisions of the lead contractor on the project – Gilbane – said Foxconn is getting ready to award another round of work in coming weeks. The work will help ensure the company is able to begin manufacturing at the site in 2020.
“I couldn’t be more honored to be here to announce them as we work for the community, for the subcontracting base to drive the community forward,” Jelen said at a press conference held at the project site.
Jelen, who did not take questions, said Foxconn plans to hold information sessions starting next week to brief contractors about coming bid opportunities. The first such session is scheduled to take place in Sturtevant on Wednesday. Project officials plan to hold similar sessions in Madison, Green Bay and Eau Claire.
Foxconn said last week that it had marked May for the release of initial bid packages for the actual construction of its planned manufacturing plant and “ancillary” buildings. Much of the work on the project so far has been to prepare the site, although crews completed the construction of a multipurpose building last year.
Word that the company is again hiring contractors and releasing building plans came as a relief to local officials. In late January, two news reports cast doubt on Foxconn’s plans for Wisconsin. A company executive told Reuters that, despite the company’s assurances, the Racine County campus wouldn’t be a manufacturing plant after all. A day later, the business publication Nikkei Asian Review reported Foxconn was putting its construction plans on hold in response to market conditions and its negotiations with the new Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers.
Foxconn disputed the Nikkei report and ultimately said it was still committed to building a factory in Mount Pleasant. The company’s plans have been curtailed at least slightly, though.
When inking a deal that could provide Foxconn with as much as $4 billion in public subsidies, the company said it would employ as many as 13,000 people in the state and spend $10 billion on a so-called Generation 10 to build flat screens. Foxconn officials have since said they now plan to build a less-expensive, “Generation 6” factory.
Last week, Foxconn said coming construction work will lay the groundwork for employing 1,500 manufacturing workers at the site by 2020. That was welcome news to Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave.
But when he was asked if Foxconn’s actual factory would really resemble the futuristic portrait that the company has presented in marketing materials, Delagrave said he wasn’t sure.
“I would say that everything is kind of fluid in terms of exactly what it is,” Delagrave said. “I can tell you that it’s going to be pretty state-of-the-art, and how it flushes out in detail, I don’t want to comment because I don’t know myself.”Follow @natebeck9