Foxconn plans to begin building construction in August

Manufacturing design continues

Construction equipment at the site of Foxconn's planned $10 billion LCD manufacturing campus.

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

Construction crews are planning to begin work in August on the first building on Foxconn Technology Group’s massive campus in Mount Pleasant, local and construction officials said Wednesday.

Construction equipment at the site of Foxconn’s planned $10 billion LCD manufacturing campus.

The 88,000-square-foot, multipurpose building will provide temporary staging for the company’s main manufacturing and fabrication construction along with permanent operations, said Adam Jelen, senior vice president at Gilbane Building Co., part of the M+WǀGilbane joint venture formed for the Foxconn project.

“It should be done by the end of this year, so it should move swiftly,” said Jenny Trick, Racine County Economic Development Corp. executive director.

M+WǀGilbane and Foxconn released bid information for the building earlier this month. Bids are due by June 12 and an award announcement is expected by June 18. Jelen and Trick were among the officials on hand for an information session in Sturtevant aimed at helping Racine County contractors get work on the project.

Asked what the second building on the Foxconn site would be, Jelen said the main manufacturing facilities are still in design development.

“We’re anticipating that we should be seeing some updated site plans and then related construction scheduled to have a better idea of where we are going in the next year or two,” Trick said.

To date, the only public site plans for the Foxconn project were a one page diagram required in the company’s development agreement with Mount Pleasant and Racine County. Those plans, released late last year, featured measurements in meters.

At the time, local officials said Foxconn planned to begin construction on an assembly facility this spring with the goal of beginning operations on the site in early 2019. The company does have a leased experimental facility a few miles north of its planned campus and is hiring for assembly and warehouse positions.

Trick acknowledged elements of the Foxconn project can be “fluid” but said the bigger picture is still the same.

“I think the end goal has remained unchanged, but it’s the journey in which you get there that changes frequently,” she said. “As you can imagine with a project of this size and complexity, as well as all of the external partners that are involved, things change, surprises arise.”

“You stay the course and there’s enough means by which you’re communicating regularly with one another where the surprise is immediate and you resolve them and you move on,” Trick added. “So it’s just constant project management amongst the team.”

Local officials got one of those surprises last week when a report from Nikkei Asian Review indicated the company planned to cut its investment in Wisconsin. The outlet later changed its story to say the company would alter its product mix after Foxconn called the report inaccurate and said it was still committed to investing $10 billion and creating 13,000 jobs in the state.

Jelen said the plan has always been for the project to be built out in phases and, like Trick, acknowledged there can be changes.

“In terms of the bigger picture vision, as things look at the overall next decade, certainly some of that is fluid as the plans develop as with any major, monumental or mega project, especially when it involves technology,” he said. “We’re very accustomed to working in this environment and that will be fluid, as planned, that’s part of the process in terms of doing this.”

He stressed M+WǀGilbane is working to be disciplined and controlled in coordinating the logistics of the construction project while maximizing the opportunity for state and local businesses and workers.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at 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.

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