Earlier this week, there were reports that most of the “innovation centers” announced by Foxconn in Wisconsin as part of its deal with President Trump to build a (status unknown) LCD manufacturing plant in the state were empty. Reports stated that some of the buildings were never actually purchased, and no one in Wisconsin seems to have any idea what’s going on.
Today, Foxconn responded to the reports by… announcing another innovation center in Wisconsin and it happens to be in the state capital, Madison. The building houses a bank at the moment, and it is directly across the street from the Capitol building. As far as we know, the building will continue to house the bank as Foxconn made no announcements concerning when it would move in.
Foxconn also failed to announce a few other things such as how much it purchased the building, how many floors it would occupy in the building, how many people would be employed there, or what those people would be doing.
However, it did announce that the building would be rebranded, “Foxconn Place Madison.”
Anyway, below is the big quote from Foxconn’s Alan Yeung in an excellent piece in the Wisconsin State Journal about the deal:
Yeung made assurances to those in attendance at Monona Terrace that the Madison building will not be empty, which elicited nervous laughter from the crowd.
Foxconn announces the building just days after The Verge published a news story which raised questions on the progress of other “innovation centers” scattered across the state, finding some centers had stalled or contracts pulled.
According to Yeung, the article had “a lot of inaccuracies,” the the buildings are not empty and that the company would issue a correction soon. He then went on to discourage people, such as reporters, from “climbing trees” to determine building occupancy.
”We do have a plan and we actually will make sure the building is adequate and well-equipped before we move people in,” he said.
The Journal Sentinel also reported a few more from Yeung:
“I appreciate you worrying about these empty buildings… I can assure you they are not empty… We don’t actually make an effort to acquire buildings to leave them empty. We do have a plan…
”So you will see a lot more coming in the next months, the next year or so,” Yeung said. “I can assure you it will not be empty and they’re not empty right now.”
The Verge further went on to deny allegations that they climbed trees to report on Foxconn’s innovation centers, stating their reporter, Josh Dzieza simply looked in the window and saw this:
If that photo is not accurate as Foxconn claims and the building isn’t, in fact, empty, Foxconn should have clarified it with The Verge as they claim they repeatedly asked for comment which was declined.