Foxconn buys former Elks lodge in downtown Racine


Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 pm

An affiliate of Foxconn Technology Group has purchased the former Elks lodge in downtown Racine from Johnson Redevelopment Corp. for $1.2 million, according to state records.

FE Lake Street LLC completed the purchase of the three-story building now known as the Harborview Professional Center, located at 601 Lake Ave., on Dec. 19. FE Lake Street has the same address as Foxconn’s North American headquarters in Milwaukee, and the company has used similar names to purchase buildings around the state.

The building was assessed at $1.65 million in 2017, according to Racine County records. Building occupants currently include Wells Fargo Advisors and the intellectual property law firm Jansson Munger McKinley & Kirby Ltd.

“The property will support Foxconn’s ‘Smart City’ initiatives throughout Racine and the state and will contribute to the company’s efforts to help position Wisconsin as a global hub for high-tech talent and businesses,” Foxconn Technology Group said in a statement. “Further announcements about 601 Lake Ave. will be made in due course.”

The company announced in October it would purchase the One Main Centre building in downtown Racine. That building, located a half-mile to the north of the former Elks lodge building, is to become one of Foxconn’s innovation centers. The company is also planning innovation centers in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Eau Claire. The Racine innovation center will focus on smart city technologies, executives have said.

Foxconn has completed the purchase of its Milwaukee North American headquarters and buildings in Eau Claire and Green Bay. The purchase of One Main Centre has not been completed, but an entity named FE One Main LLC was registered with the state on the same day as FE Lake Street.

The Racine Elks Club Lodge No. 252 was built in 1912 and was designed by prominent Racine architectural firm Guilbert and Funston. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture. A nomination form submitted in 1984 credits the building with spurring the development of downtown Racine, which also includes Memorial Hall, the YMCA, the post office and Hotel Racine.

The nomination form notes that in its heyday, the building was home to “elaborate ceremonies, Christmas parties for poor children, national conventions of other associations, and fancy dress balls that were the talk of the town.”

“Local newspaper articles also speak of the many progressive civic projects that began in informal discussions at the Elks Club,” the submission says, before adding, “The Elks Club lost some of its elite luster in the 1950s and 1960s when it became known primarily as a good place to drink and gamble at the slot machines.”

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.