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The Wisconsin State Senate is expected to vote Sept. 12 on a $3 billion incentive package to entice Foxconn Technology Group to build a 20 million square foot manufacturing campus in southeast Wisconsin. The Senate has made several amendments to the Assembly’s bill. Now the Assembly will need to approve the amended bill before it’s sent back to the Senate for a vote and ultimately the Governor’s office to be signed into law. “We realize that it’s not just another manufacturing company. This is bringing in another global technology to this hemisphere. And it’s a new technology being brought to southeast Wisconsin,” Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine). The contract electronics manufacturer plans to build a manufacturing campus to make LCD screens.

Timeline for Foxconn

Once the bill passes, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a public-private entity that helps spur economic development projects in the state, can finalize a contract agreement with Foxconn, said Mark Maley, spokesperson for the WEDC. “Before the contract is signed, we have to have the bill passed or there is no program for the WEDC to do. But while they are going through the process, we are working with the company on the contract and they want to get this wrapped up by end of month. They just turned in the application to us two weeks ago, which is what starts the process.” In the meantime, Gov. Scott Walker has been going around the state touting a new supply chain website for companies looking to do business with Foxconn. The company expects to spend $1.5 billion in supplier purchases in the state annually. “Obviously nothing is certain until we have a signed contract,” Maley said. “But I’ve spent a lot of time with Governor and we are very confident this is going to happen. Still, nothing is going to happen until contract in place.” “We also believe that those purchases will come from Wisconsin-based companies that don’t currently exist,” Maley said. “These companies will see a need and then start-up.” The project is expected to produce 10,000 construction jobs, and 3,000 skilled and engineering jobs to the area. The site for the 20 million square-foot manufacturing facility has not been named, but Wanggaard hinted that the location will likely be in Mount Pleasant, Sturtevant and possibly Caledonia. The site for the 20 million square-foot 1,000-acre manufacturing facility has not been named. But Wanggaard hinted that the location will likely be in Mount Pleasant, Sturtevant and possibly Caledonia. Expected to be five times the size of the Pentagon, the campus could also have a presence in the Town of Paris, Bristol, and Somers. “Right now we’re focused on getting the law passed, then the contract gets signed and then the digging begins. But Foxconn is already looking at three temporary buildings so that they can get the jobs filled that they need to start construction,” Wanggaard said.

Construction and Real Estate Companies Keeping A Close Watch

While state Legislators and WEDC officials are bullish about Foxconn happening, some business owners are taking a wait and see approach while others are positioning themselves to be part of the action. Dan Siudek, the owner of Racine-based KDS Construction Services Inc., said he likely won’t be building for Foxconn, but he could see some business from ancillary projects. He tends to specialize in building smaller retail and commercial projects, which could be spurred on by Foxconn. But he’s also looking at getting into building multi-family homes. “I’ve been talking to some people I know that are selling their property in the area Foxconn wants to locate,” Siudek said. “I know they are staking out the property, doing title searches and the paperwork is being done on those deals.” While the whole project is exciting to Siudek, he said some investors and business owners are leery. “They’ve told me they’ll believe it when they see it before they invest in anything,” he said. But activity has already begun to build for Lee Jaramillo, who owns Racine-based Northerra Real Estate Group. Quite a few out of state investors are calling Jaramillo about acquiring sites adjoining the proposed property. “There’s been a lot of speculation on land, whether it’s vacant land, homes, or commercial,” he said. Northterra owns 37-acres on Newman and Spring Street. Several years ago they proposed building a multi family project for market-rate housing. But a moratorium on building has been holding it up and they are trying to work with the City of Racine and the Village of Mount Pleasant to get it lifted so they can start moving forward. “There are a lot of investors that are out of state that want to get into this market,” he said. “So we’re out bird-dogging every day.” [broadstreet zone=”61220″]
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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.