Madison Mayor Paul Soglin talks with mediator about Foxconn possibility

MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says he submitted three locations - including the closed Oscar Mayer property -  as potentials for a second Foxconn location in Wisconsin. 

The Taiwanese tech manufacturer is looking at green spaces for a manufacturing plant that will reportedly create around 600 new jobs, according to Soglin. 

"Foxconn has come to Madison multiple times," says Zach Brandon, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce president. "What they have been interested in is very technical capabilities." 

Soglin told reporters Thursday he was contacted via phone a week ago by Madison Regional Economic Partnership (MadREP) about the potential Foxconn expansion. Though Soglin was "surprised when [he] first got the call," he believes Foxconn could harness Madison's resources. 

"Are we interested in a Foxconn facility in Madison? Yes, we are," Soglin says. "Are we going to lower any of our standards, be they economic or environmental? Now we are not." 

Though Soglin welcomes negotiations, Madison's top official is sending a mixed message on whether the city wants a Foxconn investment. 

"Madison is in a unique position," Soglin says. "We've developed an economy here where, while we will work with employers and we will work with companies to create a viable economy, we are not in a position where we have to, in effect, give away the farm." 

Soglin warned Madison wasn't "interested in a race to the bottom - in regards to competing for financial incentives" in response to debate over proposed tax breaks for Foxconn's southwest Wisconsin-based location. 

If the company is in it for the right reasons, Soglin believes, a Foxconn investment could benefit the city, even if the Oscar Mayer site suggestion didn't meet the company's original search requirements. 

"This is not the kind of site they were requesting," Soglin says. "They were requesting a green field but our expertise in economic development and our expertise on land use says putting in a facility that employees many people right in the heart of all the resources... that makes sense." 

Brandon is also optimistic that the tech giant can tap into Madison's resources. 

"If you are looking to create great jobs, tap into great talent, live in a place with high quality of life and be able to access the kind of research and scientific discoveries at our universities," Brandon says. "It makes sense that you would want to be here and that we would want you here." 

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