- Foxconn Technology Group announced that the joint venture of Gilbane Building Co. and M+W Group will lead the construction of its $10 billion, high-tech LCD screen manufacturing plant in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. Foxconn has also chosen CH2M Cos., a subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering, to perform architectural and engineering services and The Sigma Group, a local firm, as the project's environmental consultant.
- The first phase of construction will see the completion of a 1.5-million-square-foot television assembly building, a LCD screen glass facility, water and energy plants, offices and parking. Local governments have performed infrastructure work around the site to ready the area for construction.
- The joint venture is expected to begin issuing bid requests in the next several weeks and, according to an Associated Press report published in the Leader-Telegram, will start the hiring process within the next 60 days. The Foxconn project will require more than 10,000 construction workers each year for four years, so the Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program (BIG STEP) has opened a local training center to prepare local workers to fill those positions.
While Foxconn only this week made the official announcement that M+W and Gilbane would take on the role of construction manager, there have been reports of negotiations between Gilbane and Foxconn since earlier this year.
The project, both in the construction phase and when the plant is operational, is poised to pay off economically for the region and state, but it has been a source of controversy in relation to land acquisition and how some aspects of the plant's construction will affect the environment.
Mount Pleasant residents, according to WISN, have complained to city officials about having to relocate or give up property because of the project. The city is offering affected property owners $50,000 per acre. In addition, Wisconsin Public Radio reported that environmental group Clean Wisconsin is looking at the potential effect of increased ozone emissions once the factory is operational. In addition, others are questioning how a new electrical substation and transmission lines will impact local farming operations and whether existing utility customers should have to pay for the new system.
Also a source of controversy is the $3 billion package of benefits that was included in the deal to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin. The company will receive the $3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives, like a possible automated vehicle (AV) lane as part of an Interstate 94 expansion near the factory. Foxconn must meet job creation and investment benchmarks in order to qualify for the benefits, but some critics have called the arrangement corporate welfare that won't create the expected pay off for Wisconsin residents.