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Foxconn Technology Group, an electronics manufacturer that makes LCD screens, announced that it plans to open an innovation center in downtown Racine, according to a press release sent out at 1 p.m.

Officials from Foxconn made the announcement Tuesday at 1 Main Street. The plan to open an innovation center, which will partner with the community on developing and implementing “smart city” innovations.

Based in Taiwan, Foxconn site development started with excavation work for a 22-million-square-foot manufacturing campus located in Mount Pleasant in April. Construction of the Advanced Display Manufacturing buildings is anticipated to start in early to middle 2019.

But this new development — Foxconn Place Racine and the Wisconn Valley Innovation Center — “will connect Foxconn with institutions of higher education, businesses, local governments and the community to bring ‘smart city’ research and development to the Racine area and beyond,” the press release reads.

“Today’s announcement once again demonstrates the company’s commitment to not only creating a $10 billion world-class advanced manufacturing campus that will employ 13,000 people but to working with key stakeholders to position Wisconsin as a global leader in technology and innovation,” said Governor Walker. “This is another example of the ‘Foxconn Bonus’ that we’re seeing throughout the state that will create jobs, support startups, and spur innovation.”

Alan Yeung, director of U.S. strategic initiatives for Foxconn Technology Group, said he had visited the property “quite a few times” adding that he was excited about the project.

“It is my great pleasure. Foxconn has purchased the One Main Center building,” he said. “For the development of Foxconn Place and Wisconn Valley Innovation Center. As most of you know, better than I do, this is a great building at the intersection of the Root River and Lake Michigan.

“With the purchase of this three-story, 46,000-square-foot building, we hope to transform the building into Foxconn Place Racine.”

State-of-the-art co-working space

This building encompasses a state-of-the-art co-working space, Yeung explained and will become a model for Smart City pilot programs that will leverage all of the technologies that Foxconn will build and enable in Wisconsin.

“Together with the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park, this center will drive the development of the Foxconn AI-AK5G Ecosystem we are building here in the state of Wisconsin,” he told the crowd.

Alan Yeung, director of U.S. strategic initiatives for Foxconn Technology Group, announced the purchase of One Main Place Building Tuesday afternoon in downtown Racine.

“We are building Wisconsin into the next technology hub for the Midwest and the United States. We believe this will be home for the next generation Smart City R&D center,” Yeung added.

He said the company plans to have at least 125 future Foxconn employees working in the facility.

“Many may wonder why a Foxconn Place Racine and Wisconn Valley Innovation Center, less than 10 miles from Mount Pleasant, where we are building our beautiful 3,000-acre Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park,” he noted. “It is kind of difficult to build a Smart City without a city.

Racine Mayor Corey Mason added that he is excited about the building purchase and explained how it would benefit the City.

“We talk so much about partnership and collaboration, and getting to this point was definitely a collaborative effort,” Mason said. “We are so lucky to have great partners in UW-Parkside and Gateway Technology College. And the County has been a tremendous partner in all of these activities.

“This center will allow us to develop technologies to apply here in the city. To improve the lives of our residents, around workability, livability, equity and sustainability. People are going to be surprised and impressed about what is ahead of us.”

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave echoed those thoughts. “I think you understand why we in Racine County, the Village of Mount Pleasant and the City of Racine … worked so hard to get Foxconn in Racine County. This is just another bonus we are going to enjoy for a long time.”

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Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.