BROOKFIELD - The numbers
associated with Foxconn's proposal to come to Wisconsin make it very
appealing: a $7 billion plant that would employ as many as 10,000
people. While it has turned the heads of area municipal leaders,
they don't see the Taiwanese technology company locating in their
city because of another number: about 1,000 square feet of space
that is needed for the plant.
Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto
said when he heard the company that makes Apple's iPhones was
considering a possible move to Wisconsin, he reached out to the
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, but learned the city
didn't have the square footage of space needed for Foxconn.
However, Ponto said he
believes that ancillary businesses will follow Foxconn and he hopes
they select Brookfield for their facilities.
"We have a new office park,
Northbrook Commerce Center on Gumina Road, which is all set to go
and all we need to is a prospective tenant and we could build to
suit," Ponto said.
The spin-off benefits of
Foxconn building in Kenosha or Racine counties could be huge for
Waukesha County, including Brookfield, Ponto said.
"I think it would be a shot
in general for Wisconsin's manufacturing economy," he said. "It
would help confirm Wisconsin's historic leadership in
To put the size of Foxconn's
proposal into perspective, Tim Casey, director of economic
development for Waukesha County Center for Growth, Inc., said it's
possible the county could configure land measuring 200, 300 or 400
acres for the right project, but there is nothing close to the 1,000
acres Foxconn is believed to need. In fact, Casey said all of the
Pabst Farms development in Oconomowoc measures 1,600 acres and the
business park is only a portion of that.
Oconomowoc Mayor David Nold
said he has not been contacted by anyone representing Foxconn and he
doesn't think the city has the physical resources that the company
needs, including a large volume of water. Nevertheless, he is
excited the company could come to the state.
"It's nice if they come to
the state and create 10,000 jobs; it will help everyone," Nold said.
"Hopefully it will turn out the best for all of us."
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly
said getting Foxconn to build here is largely a state issue.
"I think it would be great to
be in Racine or Kenosha and the support companies would be from
Waukesha," Reilly said.
He believes some people who
work in Waukesha may end up working at Foxconn, but thinks it's more
likely that other companies already located in Waukesha would be
able to benefit from creating a relationship with the large company.
Ponto said the state
government is taking the lead on drawing Foxconn here.
"That would be a big plus and
would have positive effects throughout the state," he said.