Microsoft data center planned in Mount Pleasant near Foxconn

Microsoft Corporation plans to build a $1 billion data center campus in Racine County, near the site of Foxconn. While Foxconn doesn't own the land, the company still had to sign off on the village's deal with Microsoft.

Microsoft would pay Mount Pleasant $50 million for the 315 acres of land. It is south of Braun Road, north of county highway KR, east of the Canadian Pacific Rail right-of way and then west of 90th Street.

The land is part of tax increment district (TID 5), the same district which includes Foxconn. This project is a different area of the district and won't be part of the Foxconn site. Likewise, the data center project is solely a Microsoft investment. 

Since Foxconn helped acquire land in the entire TID, the proposed deal with Microsoft will give some of the village's sale proceeds to Foxconn. 

In addition, Foxconn had the first right of refusal to the land and so had to sign off on the sale, which they have.

"The collaboration with Microsoft and local government demonstrates Foxconn’s partnership with others to further the goals and intentions of creating a science and technology hub," Foxconn wrote in a statement.

Mount Pleasant Board President Dave DeGroot announced the Microsoft plans Monday, March 27 at a village board meeting. 

"I am so thrilled and honored to announce that Microsoft Corporation is committed to making a significant investment in Mount Pleasant," said DeGroot. "Not only is this great for the village financially but the fit into TID5, which was set up to be a technology hub in the Midwest, could not be more perfect. And having a corporate resident such as Microsoft in TID5 will only serve as a magnet to attract additional high-level growth to Mount Pleasant."

He said Microsoft is "eager to get started," noting the board has a "tight schedule" and needs to approve the deal in March. 

The announcement came a week before a contentious election, with Foxconn opponent Kelly Gallaher running to oust the village president.

"The timing is interesting," said Gallaher. "I think though, it’s irrelevant. I think it makes sense with all of the land that we have available, that in the five years since the Foxconn announcement was made, that someone would come along and be interested."

After the meeting, DeGroot wouldn't talk with FOX6 on camera, but another board member said he would welcome Microsoft.

(Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

"As they say in Field of Dreams, ‘If you build it, they will come,’" said Mount Pleasant Village Trustee Ram Bhatia. "Foxconn, the infrastructure that we built, has put us on the global map."

The Foxconn project once promised 13,000 jobs for the area, which hasn't materialized. The company says they are hiring more than 1,000 people in Wisconsin. Now, questions turn to how many jobs Microsoft will bring.

"Data centers have become a very popular thing in rural areas, places where they have a lot of cheap land, places where they have cheap utilities," said Gallaher. "Data centers don’t really employ a lot of people. They max out maybe 60-80 people. So certainly, we’re still waiting the 13,000 jobs that were promised."

The project would create construction jobs. If approved, the village says site preps would begin this year. Per the plan, phase one construction would start no later than July 2026, while phase two would start no later than July 2033.

Per the yet-to-be-approved agreement, Microsoft would be eligible to earn back some of the money as it builds on the site, that is they'd be able to recoup 42% of property taxes, not to exceed $5 million per year.

The Mount Pleasant Board of Trustees plans to consider the proposed development at special meeting on Thursday. Then, the issue would go before the Racine County Board of Supervisors on April 11 and 18.