Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:12 pm
As crews begin the work of moving 4 million cubic yards of dirt to prepare the site of Foxconn Technology Group’s massive LCD manufacturing campus, the company is already turning its attention toward planning how the area surrounding its $10 billion facility will be developed.
To help set a vision for the development, Foxconn has hired Brookfield-based Hammes Co. to create a master plan for the “Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park.”
The Foxconn manufacturing operation is expected to sit on about 800 acres just south of Braun Road and west of Highway H in Mount Pleasant, but that leaves more than 2,000 acres in the project area to be developed.
“It’s a big undertaking when you’re dealing with this size and scope, but the process one uses stays the same,” said Hammes Co. founder and managing partner Jon Hammes.
Ever since the project was announced at the White House last year, Foxconn executives have discussed their desire to create an 8K+5G ecosystem in Wisconsin that takes advantage of next generation technology in display resolution and cellular data.
The idea for the science and technology park is to attract companies in verticals like education, health care, entertainment, sports, security and smart communities, higher education institutions, and research institutes. Potential suppliers to Foxconn are also expected to locate near the firm.
Foxconn and its general contractor M+W | Gilbane set goals of having 60 percent of construction work for the LCD manufacturing complex performed by Wisconsin businesses and 70 percent of the work hours performed by Wisconsin residents. The project also has a goal of 10 percent for minority-, woman- or veteran-owned firms, and the same for workers in those groups.
The first group of 28 subcontractors, announced in early May, made good progress on those goals, with 27 of the firms being based in the state and seven qualifying as minority-, woman- or veteran-owned.
Hiring those subcontractors put the project on a path to meeting its hiring goals, although the $100 million in work represents just 1 percent of the total project. Those efforts took a hit, however, after The Daily Reporter inquired about Vizcaino’s Trucking LLC’s status as a banned contractor by the state Department of Transportation.
Black River Falls-based Hoffman Construction Co. terminated its agreement with Vizcaino’s after being contacted by the Milwaukee construction newspaper.
The hiring of Hammes provided another example of Foxconn hiring Wisconsin firms, but it also highlighted the politics surrounding the project. Many media outlets were quick to point out that Jon Hammes has close ties to Gov. Scott Walker and is a frequent donor to Republican candidates. He is the campaign finance chair of Walker’s re-election bid.
“I don’t see this as a political subject,” Hammes said. “I see this as business development and growing the economic health of our state and our region.”