Foxconn comes to Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot shakes hands with Dr. Louis Woo of Foxconn Wednesday morning during the announcement of the future home of Foxconn’s state-of-the-art advanced display manufacturing campus.

GREGORY SHAVER, For The Journal Times

MOUNT PLEASANT — On Wednesday, Foxconn Technology Group announced the area where it will invest an initial $10 billion to build a massive manufacturing plant in the Village of Mount Pleasant. However, well before then, the company will be renting a place to train employees and test new products.

Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, said some of the products to be tested in Racine County could be rolled out into stores sometime in 2018.

While the manufacturing plant is being built, Woo said, the company plans to continue working on its products, such as televisions and liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, to make sure there will be a smooth transition to the manufacturing plant.

“When you’re looking at making (televisions) from the components all the way to making it to a final product, that’s going to take four or five years … to build the basic components, that’s two pieces of glass which could be 80 inches, 120 inches,” Woo said.

“We’re (going to be) doing some testing assembly … we’re renting a space to set up a training center and also an experimental center to make sure whatever we do two, three, four years down the line will be the most advanced that no one has done before.”

Woo praised Wisconsin officials, particularly Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave and Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot, and said they “worked hard to get us to where we are today.”

When asked about why Foxconn chose Racine County, Woo said it was the people who won the company over.

“They’re not only hard-driving, hard-working people, but they are passionate and they are determined,” Woo said.

‘Now the actual work begins’

The county is still working to acquire the land necessary to build the Foxconn plant that will be located between Interstate 94 and Highway H, and between highways 11 and KR.

Delagrave said the county has been working hard to secure property.

“We’ve done an extremely aggressive job in getting land options for about 95 percent of what the site needs,” Delagrave said.

Claude Lois, project director for the Village of Mount Pleasant, was hired in August to handle development related to Foxconn.

Lois said that now, “The actual work really begins.”

“Now it gets down to the details of the development agreement; the (tax incremental district) stuff will all start now,” Lois said.

There will be a public hearing regarding the TID district. “At that point in time everything will be finalized with the TID boundary.”

In September, Lois was part of a Wisconsin delegation that traveled to Japan on a “fact-finding mission” to see a Foxconn facility in action.

“(Foxconn is) state of the art … it was very impressive,” Lois said. “The facility over there was very, very nice, very clean, very state of the art.”

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Reporter

Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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