Foxconn Considering a 2nd Wisconsin Manufacturing-Related Facility Near Madison
News of another potential major Foxconn investment, this one in Dane County, comes barely two weeks after the announcement of a $10 billion dollar facility only a few counties away.
Asian electronics giant Foxconn is already considering and discussing investing in a second facility in Wisconsin—this one in Dane County, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report citing a half dozen knowledgeable sources.
The precise operations of the facility were not report, but speculation included: a research and development site; an operation connected with medical imaging; and a business related to wearable devices that could track a consumer's vital statistics.
"It's a moving target," a source said of the Foxconn inquiries and no offers have yet been made by Foxconn. But it seems a potential deal is in the works. “That’ll probably clear up in the next 45 days,” said one source familiar with the potential project. "It's good to be in play."
In recent public statements regarding Foxconn’s first Wisconsin facility, President Trump has casually mentioned that Foxconn’s investment in the U.S. could triple—to US $30 billion—but no other details have been available. In separate comments to Fox 6 Wednesday, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville said he also expected more than one Foxconn facility in Wisconsin. "We do anticipate there's going to be more than just this one location in (the) Racine-Kenosha area," Ryan said.
Wisconsin lawmakers are currently considering an unprecedented incentive package of up to $3 billion in state subsidies. The deal to bring Foxconn’s flat panel production line to Racine or Kenosha counties—exact location and site still TBD—also includes big exemptions from environmental rules that Foxconn could use to discharge dredged materials, fill wetlands, change the course of streams, build artificial bodies of water that connect with natural waterways and build on a riverbed or lakebed. All without permits.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has previously reported Foxconn executives visiting Dane County over the past two months, meeting with University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and with startup companies from the University Research Park. But, more importantly, they're investigating sites in the Madison area for a possible company location, again according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It would not be a surprise that they are hoping to do a number of projects," one source said of Foxconn. Fitchburg Mayor Jason Gonzalez confirmed that Foxconn executives visited his city and toured Placon, a local manufacturer that could have parcels for potential development. "I would say that there has been interest in Fitchburg from them," Gonzalez said. "They did get a chance to see Fitchburg and some of the (greenfield sites) we have."
Gonzalez pointed to the presence of UW-Madison as an important factor for Foxconn in considering Dane County because, in addition to being a fine research institution, it is the alma mater for many executives and scientists in Taiwan who are connected to Foxconn.
"Frankly, there's a strong alumni connection in Taiwan," Gonzalez said of UW.
This potential Dane County project is not expected to reach the staggering size Foxconn's monster manufacturing facility in Racine or Kenosha.
In a statement, Foxconn again signaled its intent to build multiple U.S. facilities and expand its production footprint massively. "Our investment in Wisconsin will be the first of a series of facilities we will be building in several states as part of a robust electronics ecosystem we will be creating in the United States," the statement reads.
The next facility in Foxconn’s master manufacturing investment plan will, apparently, come in Michigan.
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