Wisconsin town still waiting on Foxconn’s new factory

Moody’s downgraded the village’s rating after officials borrowed $350M for property acquisition, new infrastructure
May 05, 2019 11:00AM

US President Donald Trump (L) and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou leave after a groundbreaking for a Foxconn facility at the Wisconsin Valley Science and Technology Park June 28, 2018 in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin (Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Public officials have spent hundreds of millions of dollars clearing the way for Foxconn to build its planned $10 billion factory in southeast Wisconsin, but the Taiwanese company has yet to hold up its end of the deal.

As Foxconn has been lagging on its building and hiring commitments, some residents are questioning the billions of dollars in subsidies the town and state sunk into the proposal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

To date, contractors have razed 75 homes and cleared hundreds of acres of farmland in the village of Mount Pleasant since the deal was announced in 2017. But, by the end of 2018, the firm had spent $99 million, or 1 percent of its committed investment, on the project. And it had hired just 200 in-state employees, after committing to hire more than 2,000 by the end of 2019.

After the village and Racine County borrowed some $350 million to buy land and beef up infrastructure in advance of construction of the phone screen factory, officials have yet to receive any building plans from the developer. The debt led Moody’s to downgrade Mount Pleasant’s credit rating.

A representative of Foxconn told the Journal the firm would begin the “next phases of construction” on the site by this summer.

Most recently, in February, the manufacturing giant appeared to switch up its plans for the nearly 800-acre campus, but it recommitted to its original plan amid pressure from Gov. Tony Evers and President Donald Trump. [WSJ] — Alex Nitkin