Microsoft to expand its investment in Mount Pleasant, spending ‘billions’ to grow in Wisconsin

Local officials say Microsoft will become the largest landowner in a district originally intended for Foxconn

A glass globe on Foxconn's campus.
The Foxconn campus Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Mount Pleasant, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Microsoft is planning to expand its development of a data center in Mount Pleasant, with plans to purchase another thousand acres in the village and to invest “billions of dollars” at the site over the next decade.

Gov. Tony Evers announced the plan Friday.

Microsoft announced in March that it planned to invest $1 billion to build a data center on 315 acres once set aside for the Foxconn development in Racine County. The company broke ground on the center in September.

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Now, Microsoft plans to construct additional data centers on land initially meant for Foxconn, with plans to purchase 1,030 additional acres in a tax incremental district created for the Taiwan-based company, according to a joint release from Mount Pleasant, Racine County and Milwaukee 7.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday that the terms of the deal between the village and Microsoft say the company will guarantee an additional property value of $1.4 billion by 2028. The deal is slated to be presented to the village board on Monday.

Local officials said Microsoft will become the largest landowner in a district originally intended for Foxconn, pending the land purchase being approved by the village and county.

They said the company also plans to invest $4.2 million to restore 1.5 miles of Lamparek Creek, $100,000 for water restoration efforts throughout the county and $200,000 to support education efforts in science, technology, engineering and math.

In a statement, Evers said he’s thrilled Microsoft will continue to grow its operations in the state, and thanked local partners for their efforts.

“Microsoft’s injection of billions of dollars to expand its operations in Mount Pleasant will have a positive impact that will be felt in the region and across our state for years, and I cannot wait for this partnership to continue to strengthen and develop as this effort moves forward,” he said.

Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith, in a statement, credited the strength of the state’s workforce, infrastructure and educational opportunities for the company’s plans to expand its Wisconsin footprint.

Evers’ office said Microsoft’s decision comes after legislation was included in the biennial budget designed to support data centers, and follows the federal decision to designate Wisconsin as a regional tech hub.

A pair of Republicans in the state Legislature praised Microsoft’s plans. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Rep. Robert Wittke, R-Racine, in a joint statement called it “an incredible day” for Mount Pleasant, saying the village “played a pivotal role in facilitating the expansion.”

“We’re optimistic this partnership will not only transform the local landscape but also attract talent and innovation to Wisconsin,” Vos and Wittke said. “We look forward to what lies ahead as this expansion takes shape.”

The company’s investment in the industrial area comes after plans for Foxconn at the site have dwindled to a tiny fraction of the original plans for a manufacturing center in Mount Pleasant. In a deal announced in 2017, the company said it would invest $9 billion at the site and employ 13,000 in return for a $3 billion incentive plan.