Microsoft agrees to purchase $50M Foxconn land parcel, prep for $1B data center 

In a follow-up to March discussions, Microsoft has agreed to buy a $50 million, 315-acre parcel of land in Mount Pleasant and plans to build a $1 billion data center there, according to the Associated Press. The land was initially part of a development by Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, but the company has so far failed to fulfill promises to build a massive facility that would employ thousands of workers. 

Mount Pleasant already is home to a Foxconn Technology Group manufacturing facility. The Taiwan-based company is best known for making Apple iPhones. In 2017, the company announced plans that never came to fruition to build a $10 billion facility in Mount Pleasant that would employ 13,000 people. Gov. Tony Evers scaled back the tax breaks to $80 million contingent on the number of jobs created and investments. The company qualified for just $8.6 million in tax credits last year after creating 768 eligible jobs and making a $77.4 million capital investment by the end of 2021. 

Foxconn spent $60 million to help Mount Pleasant officials buy the property to create the district. Foxconn would receive the proceeds from the land sale to Microsoft as partial reimbursement of what Foxconn spent to acquire land for the district in 2017. Microsoft would be eligible to recoup 42% of property taxes paid on new construction, up to $5 million annually. 

Microsoft must begin the first phase of construction by July 2026 and begin the second phase by July 2033. 

The tech sector has been contracting after pandemic-era expansions brought on a boom in demand for workplace software. Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, hasn’t been immune to the trend, announcing in January that it planned to cut 10,000 workers and consolidate leased office locations. Company officials said then that the layoffs amounted to less than 5% of their total employee base.