- Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn has awarded Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Company the general construction contract for its new $10 billion factory in Mount Pleasant, WI, according to BizTimes. Neither Gilbane nor Foxconn has officially announced the deal, but Foxconn said an announcement on the selection of a general contractor is forthcoming, pending finalization of the necessary agreements.
- Infrastructure and utility work for the four-year project has already started, and construction on the first of three 1.5-million-square-foot buildings could start as early as April. The project is expected to span 22 million square feet when complete.
- After Foxconn makes an official announcement regarding its choice for general contractor, local construction companies expect the subcontractor award process to begin. The project could generate 10,000 construction jobs, representing $600 million in earnings each year, along with 6,000-10,000 additional support jobs like suppliers.
The project has gotten flak from critics who say the incentive package Wisconsin offered Foxconn to entice the company to build there was too extravagant and ultimately a bad deal for taxpayers. The $3 billion incentive package requires Foxconn to invest at least $10 billion in the project and create 13,000 jobs as part of the 15-year agreement. If the company doesn't reach those benchmarks, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou will be personally liable for 25% of any amount the company has to repay the state.
Foxconn's deal is among the biggest recent manufacturing investments made by foreign companies in the U.S., including utility mega-projects like the $15 billion ethane cracker plant South-African company Sasol is building in Lake Charles, LA. And those investments seem to be gaining momentum.
The U.S. has become more attractive to those who have established manufacturing operations in other countries where the cost of doing business isn't necessarily the less costly alternative it once was.Even China, once a go-to country for low-cost manufacturing, is taking advantage of the business environment in the U.S. According to the Reshoring Initiative, which supports the production of local goods, China has been behind 60% of the manufacturing jobs that have been brought back to the U.S. between 2010 and 2016.