Foxconn announces plans to buy BMO Harris Bank on Capital Square

Foxconn announces plans to buy BMO Harris Bank on Capital Square

Foxconn announced Friday afternoon that the company is moving to Madison. The company’s director of U.S. strategic initiatives, Dr. Allen Young, said it is buying the BMO Harris Bank on West Main Street.

The building was built in 1923 and was called a hallmark of Madison. It’s six stories high and covers about 60,000 square feet. David Casper, the chair and CEO of BMO Harris Bank, said the bank will have to rearrange some things to accommodate Foxconn moving in.

Casper said the decision was a “no-brainer”, but said the deal is still imminent.

He said not all of the details have been negotiated yet, but he’s confident they will close a deal.

Neither Young nor Casper would comment on how much this deal will close for, and neither was sure of how many floors Foxconn would purchase in the building.

Casper said the bank will still operate on the first floor of the building and will still employ all 100 people who work there now.

Foxconn already has facilities in Racine, Green Bay, Milwaukee and Eau Clare.

Foxconn announces plans to buy BMO Harris Bank on Capital Square

The company has faced scrutiny in the past from people who say all the buildings it has bought are empty. When asked to address the rumors about the building, Young said, “I appreciate you worrying about these empty buildings. I can assure you they are not empty. But we also don’t want people to climb up on trees and look over to make sure we have occupancy. We don’t make an effort to acquire buildings to leave them empty. We actually have a plan. We want to make sure the buildings are adequate and well equipped before we move people in.”

Reporters who attended Friday’s press conference asked Casper if he was concerned about his building becoming another one of the rumored empty buildings in this deal, and he responded: “Look, they wouldn’t do this if they didn’t have a plan and I’m confident they do.”

Foxconn is also partnering with University of Wisconsin-Madison on the deal. The company had promised $100 million to the school to build a new initiative research building on their school of engineering campus. Dr. Young said he hopes to engage the faculty and students at the university in what will be the largest industrial research project in the history of the UW.

“Foxconn Place Madison will expand opportunities for our students and spark technological advancements with our faculty and researchers and we are thrilled it is becoming a reality,” said Charlie Hoslet, UW Madison’s vice chancellor of university relations.

Hoslet also said the school is starting an additional $100 million subcampaign to further support the school’s research and advancements in science and technology.

While Young wasn’t able to provide a timeline for the plans at the BMO Harris Bank building, he said that production at the Mount Pleasant location would be up and running by the end of 2020.

Young said there will be more announcements on the progression of Foxconn’s plans in the coming months.

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