MOUNT PLEASANT — The Foxconn “Gen6” manufacturing facility cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday toward becoming reality.
It’s been likened to an aircraft carrier and planned to have the words “High Tech Carrier” on the northeast facade.
The Mount Pleasant Plan Commission unanimously approved the site, building and operation plans for the Foxconn Technology Group Gen6 fabrication building. It now goes to the Village Board for final approval.
Michael Pearce, director of civil, structural and architectural for Exyte, the main construction managers for the project, said the designs of the building are still changing.
“I know some of the documents that have been submitted aren’t crystal clear at this point because the project is still somewhat in the design phase,” Pearce said. “Just so you understand the nature of where the design of this building originated, its imagery is derived from an aircraft carrier — hence the language on the building of ‘high tech carrier.’”
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Foxconn is proposing to build a 993,460-square-foot manufacturing, assembly and office building in Area I of the property and began pouring concrete on Wednesday.
The Plan Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the project because parts of the building are taller than 40 feet. That includes an exhaust stack at nearly 61 feet, a red decorative entrance at 52 feet and parts of the roof of the building at about 48 feet.
However much of the building will be windowless; Pearce explained why.
“This is a manufacturing facility; it is a humidified space, due to the manufacturing process we’re required to humidify the interior of the building,” Pearce said. “And being in Wisconsin, that’s not a situation where you want to have windows. It spells disaster for the manufacturing process.”
The windows that will be installed will be in the office area.
“Under many circumstances, you would’ve built the entire building as a giant shoebox all at one elevation,” Pearce said. “But, due to the manufacturing process that’s going on inside and the mechanical systems that have to support that, we’re trying to reduce the volume as much as possible because it’s very expensive to maintain that area.”
Planning Commission chair Davis Driver called the vote “historic” and added, “We’ve been waiting for this day.”
Claude Lois, Foxconn project director for Mount Pleasant said this point was a long time coming.
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“We’ve all talked about this for the last two years; well here it is,” Lois said. “And there’s more (manufacturing buildings) to come.”
Lois said he and village staff have a conference call every Thursday and have been speaking weekly for more than a year regarding this phase of the development.
“This was always the first phase … this is a four-, five-, six-, seven-year buildout, or more, of this site,” Lois said. “There will be more phases to come as we keep on going; so what’s the next phase? Stay tuned.”