With an agreement between Foxconn Technology Group and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) imminent, the project is starting to move forward at the municipal level for the 20 million square foot manufacturing campus.

The WEDC board of directors is expected to vote on staff review of the agreement, which will contain the key elements of the contract, said WEDC affairs and communications director, Mark Maley.

“The board will not vote on the contract itself. But approval of the staff review gives Secretary Hogan and WEDC staff the go-ahead to wrap up negotiations,” he said. “Once the contract is signed by the state and Foxconn, it will be made public…hopefully  by the end of this week.”

Foxconn Technology Group will bring up to 13,000 new jobs — 10,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs. The project represents a $10 billion investment. In exchange, the state approved a $3 billion tax incentive package to lure the company to Wisconsin. The contract manufacturer wants to make Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) in southeast Wisconsin.

Municipal decisions on a tight schedule on Foxconn project

The Village of Mount Pleasant staff and contract consultants are preparing for a series of plan commission and village board meetings, and informational meetings for affected residents.

A special Plan Commission meeting is set for 6 p.m. Friday at the Mount Pleasant Village Hall. The resolutions — if approved — would designate 127 properties for a business park and then rezone 206 parcels bounded by Interstate 94, highways 11, H and KR. A total of 218 properties are included in the tax incremental finance (TIF) district. A Village Board meeting to amend the land use plan will then be held Nov. 20.

In a separate but related meeting, the village will host a public information session from 3 to 6 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Mount Pleasant Village Hall for property owners to review the three roads projects the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be working on.

The Village will acquire the property for the roads project and the Community Development Authority will acquire the land for the Foxconn portion of the project. Claude Lois, a special project director for the Foxconn project, works for Kapur and Associates on contract for the village.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to extend International Drive to Highway 11, and widen Braun Road from Highway H to the Interstate and Highway H from Braun Road to Highway KR. While those are village roads, the DOT is turning them over to the state until the roads projects are completed. Once done, the state will turn them back over to the village, Lois said.

“It just makes sense to have these roads done by the DOT,” Lois said. “They will be doing the design and build work on the Interstate 94 expansion at the same time.”

Lois is also overseeing the interview process with the property owners to understand their relocation needs. Once those are complete, a relocation process for those properties will be further defined.

Eminent domain,relocation process

All of the property owners — whether their property was included in the roads project or the Foxconn project — were sent eminent domain letters. State statutes provide protections for the acquiring agency and the property owner, said James Machnik, a consultant on the project with the Acquisition Connection.

“The public has been informed through informational meetings and letters that have gone out,” Machnik said. “It’s important to note that this is going to be a phased process.”

The phases include having an agreement between the WEDC and Foxconn, a developers agreement with the village, and a relocation plan will need to be developed and approved by the state. But Machniak said they can’t legally negotiate with property owners until the relocation plan is approved, Machnik said.

“The Village will have to be funded first… and that likely won’t happen until January or February,” Machnik said.

With the development expected to start in the spring, Foxconn officials will also need to submit the site plans. The goal is to get the developer’s agreement in place by Nov. 20, said Mount Pleasant Community Development Director Sam Schultz.

“All of that would have to be submitted to us for final approvals,” Schultz said.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.