Foxconn eyeing office building near state Capitol

LLC pointing to location registered in February

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Foxconn Technology Group appears to be planning to purchase the BMO Harris bank office building located across the street from the Wisconsin Capitol building in Madison.

BMO Harris Bank NA currently owns the building located at 1 W. Main St. in Madison, which has an assessed value of nearly $4.9 million, according to Dane County records. The building is located on the southern side of the Capitol square at the corner of Main Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

An entity named FE One West Main Madison LLC was registered with the state Department of Financial Institutions in February. The registered agent lists Foxconn’s North American headquarters in Milwaukee as an address. The company has also used a similar naming structure for other real estate purchases in Wisconsin.

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Last summer, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou announced the company would make a $100 million gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Part of the gift included the establishment of the Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology with plans for an off-campus presence in Madison and a physical location in Mount Pleasant.

It is unclear if the building near the Capitol would be connected to the research institute or used for another purpose.

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Foxconn declined to comment on whether any purchase of the building is planned. The company did say it has registered a number of LLCs to lease or acquire facilities as part of its Wisconn Valley Innovation Network.

“Facilities of this innovation network are integral to Foxconn as part of its initiative to foster and attract talent and connect with supply chain partners throughout the Badger state,” the company said in a statement. “Registration of any LLCs does not automatically suggest a real estate transaction would take place. Further announcements about any Foxconn Place location will be made in due course.”

A BMO Harris spokesman said the company regularly reviews its real estate options but the company had no information to share.

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Beyond its announced plans for a massive LCD manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant, the company has spent nearly $48 million on real estate throughout Wisconsin. Those purchases included Foxconn’s North American headquarters in Milwaukee and innovation centers in several cities.

Similar to the FE One West Main Madison LLC entity formed by Foxconn, the company has used addresses of properties it has purchased in the names of the entities it has formed to buy the real estate. Foxconn created FE One Main LLC to purchase the site of the company’s planned innovation center in Racine at 1 Main St. It created FE Lake Street LLC to purchase the former Racine Elks lodge, located on Lake Street. Buildings purchased by Foxconn in Eau Claire and Green Bay were acquired by Foxconn-created entities with names that matched the building names, Haymarket and Watermark respectively.

In the case of its announced innovation centers in Green Bay, Eau Claire, and Racine, Foxconn announced plans to buy a specific building and then created a legal entity for the transaction later.

But in the case of the Elks lodge, Foxconn made no announcement of its plans and completed the transaction with little fanfare. Another Foxconn entity, Adams Street Development LLC, has purchased hundreds of acres of mostly vacant land in Racine and Kenosha counties without any announcement from the company about future plans.

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