Foxconn HQ In Downtown Milwaukee
Company building Racine area plant coming here to attract talent, grow new business line.
Electronics manufacturer Foxconn will make downtown Milwaukee their Wisconsin headquarters. It’s all part of what Governor Scott Walker is calling “the Foxconn bonus.”
The company, which is in the early stages of building an estimated $10 billion campus in southern Racine County, is getting a $4.1 billion subsidy from state and local governments to build a 20 million-square-foot campus that will employ up to 13,000 people.
Now they’ll also be setting up shop in downtown Milwaukee with space for up to 650 people, although all of those people might not end up being Foxconn employees.
The company is purchasing a Northwestern Mutual office building at 611 E. Wisconsin Ave. and will rename it Foxconn Place. The seven-story building was built in 1964 by Northwestern Mutual and used for a long time as a data center by IBM. Northwestern Mutual has used the property for office space since 2001, but no longer needs the space following the completion of the 1.1 million-square-foot Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons.
Terms of the sale, which is expected to close in 2018, were not disclosed. The property was assessed at $11,471,000 in 2017. The building has 131,040 square feet of space according to city records. It also includes a substantial parking lot, which city records list at 286 stalls.
The company, which was careful to note this isn’t their official North American headquarters, will use the facility for their “non-industrial activities” related to the development of products around 8K displays and 5G communications. This includes what they’re calling the Wisconn Valley Innovation Center and a product showcase center.
Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, was in attendance at the event and said the company views the downtown location as important to not only attracting highly-skilled employees to the company on a local level, but on a national level. He said that he thinks as young employees start families and grow older it will be easier to get them to the Racine campus, but the downtown location will be a key selling point to recent college graduates.
According to Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce president Tim Sheehy, the move is “an exciting new addition to the Wisconsin economy, an addition to the regional technology profile and a sign of Milwaukee’s resurgence.”
Alan Yeung of Foxconn, head of US strategic initiatives, said “I hope not” when asked if this would be the last major investment Foxconn makes in Wisconsin, but said the company has no immediate plans to build a tower in the parking lot or make major changes to the building.
Yeung said securing a downtown location has always been very high on Foxconn’s agenda.
County Executive Chris Abele, who drew support from Walker for his steadfast support of the deal, said: “we’re looking at an opportunity as to what can go right.” Abele had previously told Urban Milwaukee when the deal was unveiled that he was pitching the company a final assembly site with direct airport access.
Governor Walker was all smiles while announcing the news at a press conference held on the top floor of Northwestern Mutual’s new tower. He had another reason to smile as well: it’s his 25th wedding anniversary and his wife, Tonnette, was sitting in the front row. The two had just come from lunch at the place they first met, Saz’s.
Mayor Tom Barrett was not in attendance at the event, a reversal from when the city-supported Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons opened and Abele and Walker weren’t in attendance.
Foxconn, represented by Colliers International, approached Northwestern Mutual about buying the block in late 2017.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
- Hintz Doubts Foxconn Electric Car Project - Corri Hess - Mar 2nd, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: The Foxconn Real Estate Show - Bruce Murphy - Feb 25th, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: Local Costs for Foxconn Cut By 2% - Bruce Murphy - Feb 8th, 2021
- Foxconn Sued for Breach of Contract - Corri Hess - Feb 4th, 2021
- Vos and Wanggaard Continue to Gaslight Public on Foxconn Development - A Better Mt. Pleasant - Feb 3rd, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: Robin Vos Will Solve Foxconn Fiasco - Bruce Murphy - Feb 2nd, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: 9 Reasons a New Foxconn Contract Is Unlikely - Bruce Murphy - Dec 21st, 2020
- Audit Says Foxconn Loophole Needs a Fix - Corri Hess - Dec 9th, 2020
- Back in the News: Residents Outraged by Foxconn Fiasco - Bruce Murphy - Dec 8th, 2020
- Back in the News: Foxconn Landing Google Contract? - Bruce Murphy - Nov 23rd, 2020
Read more about Foxconn Facility here