Foxconn on the Chippewa | WisCommunity

Foxconn on the Chippewa

July 17, 2018 - 10:34am
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Article corrected to reflect which facility will go in which building.

The big news in the Chippewa business world yesterday was that Foxconn is opening two facilities in Eau Claire. The immense electronics manufacturer is purchasing the former Wells-Fargo bank building at 204 Grand Avenue,  and space on the first floor of the Haymarket Landing development. The space in Yaymarket will be used primarily as an innovation center, developing new technology revolving around Foxconn's planned 8K display screens.

Apparent plans for the Wells-Fargo  space include using it as a technnology incubator center, giving local tech entrepreneurs a place to grow. In total the two spaces are projected to employ as many as 150. This will make Foxconn a player in downtown Eau Claire, though far from the largest downtown employer. 

The move was largely kept under wraps, and it's not clear that the two real estate deals have actually closed yet. The move was teased by Governor Walker during the last of his very many recent visits to the Chippewa Valley. Many local government officials learned of the plans during the closed event in Phoenix Park yesterday morning.

Although many are welcoming Foxconn to the area (particularly since this particular part of their Wisconsin presence will not involve government subsidies) there was a group of protesters at the announcement, and many have been opposing the move in social media. Concerns mostly revolve around the broken promises Foxconn has made in other parts of the country, and ongoing concerns about the large tax rebates being offered for the main manufacturing facilites. Other issues have been raised by having an outside company take over considerable real estate in the downtown during a period when the character and development of the city has been dominated by local companies and developers. This has been particularly contentious with the Haymarket site, which many hoped would become a thriving center of local artisans and restaurants.

Acting City Council President Andrew Werthmann made a statement on Facebook shortly after the announcement decrying the lack of information being provided to the city:

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Steve Hanson
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