Foxconn Technology Group confirmed Tuesday that is has selected Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Co. and a German-based company, M+W Group, to serve as the lead contractors to build its $10 billion Mount Pleasant complex.
BizTimes Milwaukee first reported in January that Gilbane would lead the Foxconn construction project in Mount Pleasant. The project, which could create 10,000 direct construction jobs, is expected to begin within 60 days.
[caption id="attachment_334184" align="alignright" width="384"] The site Foxconn Technology Group has selected for its 20 million-square-foot campus. Credit: Curtis Waltz / www.aerialscapes.com[/caption]
Louis Woo, special assistant to the founder and CEO of Foxconn, said Gilbane and M+W will serve as instrumental local partners as Foxconn begins construction of the campus and science and technology park in Racine County.
“Each company has a track record of excellence and a commitment to quality that will help us take advantage of the talented and hard-working workforce in Wisconsin,” Woo said.
Gilbane has led several major construction projects in Wisconsin. The firm worked with Milwaukee-based CG Schmidt as general contractor on the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons project that opened last summer in downtown Milwaukee.
Foxconn plans to build a 22-million-square-foot LCD campus on a nearly 1.2-square-mile area near Highway KR and Highway H, just east of I-94. Plans call for the campus to include three buildings that top 1.5 million square feet.
M+W Gilbane will begin issuing bid requests in the next several weeks.
Milwaukee-based The Sigma Group Inc. will provide environmental consulting and engineering services relating to permitting, planning and site design. CH2M Cos. Ltd., a subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., will lead engineering and architecture services.
Racine County officials issued statements Tuesday praising the Foxconn's choices. Racine County executive Jonathan Delagrave said the selection "expresses the company's commitment to the aggressive scheduled for the development of Foxconn's campus."
“Foxconn’s choice for professional construction manager is a great fit for this project," Jenny Trick, Racine County Economic Development Corp. executive director added. "Their combined expertise and experience, as well as their ties and commitment to Wisconsin – particularly around building local workforce and business capacity – will benefit the project, and the local community.”
As state and local officials worked to secure the Foxconn project last year, Jim Paetsch, vice president for corporate relocation, expansion and attraction at Milwaukee 7, suggested the state recommend three national construction firms with a Wisconsin presence – Mortenson, Boldt and Gilbane – arguing that approach “gives us the best chance (to) secure the largest chunk of construction spend in-state.”
“I’ve been digging more on which construction firms in the state/region have the capabilities to do a project of Flying Eagle’s scale,” Paetsch wrote in a June 9 email to Mark Hogan, secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. “We are likely going to need a firm with a local operation but a national footprint.”
He suggested Mortenson likely had the strongest capabilities, noting it was building a 1.1-million-square-foot distribution facility for Uline Inc. in Kenosha. Paetsch said the other two companies had potential, but he wasn’t sure how much experience they had with large industrial projects.
Paetsch suggested Wisconsin-based companies like CG Schmidt, Hunzinger, CD Smith, Miron or Findorff “could make a run at it.”
“But the more I look into this, the more I’m realizing they’d be deeply challenged,” he wrote.
“If we start touting too many locally-based firms that don’t have the scale to pull this off, Flying Eagle is more likely to look at national firms like Bechtel, Kiewit and Turner that have no presence in Wisconsin,” Paetsch added. “They may do this anyways, but I’d like to start with the national firms having Wisconsin presence if we can.”
Hogan asked if a group of local firms would be competitive with their own joint venture, but Paetsch said a partnership like that would still lack experience on a project of Foxconn’s scale. He said the state could push for a national firm to partner with a local one.
The emails were in advance of a potential June 2017 meeting with construction teams from Foxconn. That meeting was ultimately cancelled when the Foxconn representatives were unable to travel from Asia.