Structural Steel Work to Start at $10B WI Project
Walls are going up at Foxconn’s $10 billion campus project in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, according to local reports.
Led by general contractor Gilbane Building Co., structural steelwork is expected to begin this week.
In April 2018, Foxconn named Providence, Rhode Island-based Gilbane (which has a Milwaukee office) and global firm M+W Group (Stuttgart, Germany) as its lead contractors on the 20 million square feet of building space that will eventually employ 13,000 people.
Officials announced the first round of contracts in early July, worth $14 million, that went toward a multi-purpose building on the site, which is now complete.
And earlier this summer, officials awarded nearly 40 other contracts, though those financial terms were not disclosed.
However, the year opened with a Jan. 17 letter in which the company disclosed that it would not make the threshold of job creation needed in order to receive about $9.5 million in tax credits.
Foxconn is under an agreement with jobs agency Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to create up to 13,000 jobs over the course of construction, which would then qualify the company to be awarded up to $3 billion in tax credits.
The contract with WEDC extends well beyond the completion of construction, however. Over the first 15 years of the contract, which ends in 2027, the minimum hiring number dips to 10,400 and the company must continue employing that many people through 2032.
Shortly after, the company noted that it was no longer sure that the facility would be solely focused on making flat screens as originally pitched. According to a report by Reuters, which spoke to Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, the company will now focus on creating a “technology hub” rather than LCD manufacturing.
While it promises to maintain the numbers in terms of job creation, the type of jobs that will now be up for grabs will reportedly be totally different, and will include more research and development and design positions rather than manufacturing jobs.
Woo cited the cost of labor in the United States for the shift.
Bid packages for the construction of the massive manufacturing facility began issuing in May and later that month Foxconn awarded $13 million in contracts for foundation-related work to C.D. Smith Construction Inc. Crews began pouring concrete in late June.
About 200 workers have recently installed 400 precast concrete panels—with reports of up to 15 per day—to prep for the structural steel work, which is slated to start this week.
To date, $175 million has been awarded in contracts.
Officials say the goal is to have the enclosure done before winter with the hope of turning spaces of the building over to Foxconn for operations in the spring of 2020.