The Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council, Intersect Illinois and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity today announced that Rivian Automotive is in discussions to purchase the vacant 508 acre site that was previously home to the 2.4 million square foot Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal.
“Since Mitsubishi’s exit from the area last year, it’s been an all-hands-on-deck effort to redeploy the plant and create good-paying jobs,” said Chris Koos, Mayor of Normal.
“The discussions with Rivian have been positive, and we are progressing towards the goal of bringing this investment to our community,” John McIntyre, McLean County Board Chairman added.
Rivian is an automotive technology company developing an integrated portfolio of vehicles and services to advance the shift to sustainable mobility. The company currently has operations in both the Greater Detroit and San Francisco Bay Areas and would reconfigure the Normal facility for its vehicle production.
“Rivian will be investing in the future of Illinois when they choose to purchase this plant,” said Sean McCarthy, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce. “The auto industry is the fourth largest employer in the state, and this investment gives Illinois a significant presence in the emerging electric vehicle market.”
The project would include investments of up to $175 million by 2024 with total employment projected to be no less than 1,000 when the plant reaches expected production levels. The manufacturing plant would be a full automotive production facility.
“Today’s announcement is a perfect example of how Illinois could leverage the high-tech assets that already exist in the state to create new jobs,” said Jim Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Intersect Illinois. “Between the electric battery research being done at Argonne National Laboratories and the workforce educational initiatives at places like Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University and Heartland Community College, Illinois has the potential to be a major player in tech-forward automobile production.”
Learn more about Rivian and the innovative technology looking to invest in Illinois:
Q. Who is Rivian and what do they do?
A. Rivian is an automotive technology company that was founded in 2009 by RJ Scaringe, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, with the objective of developing sustainable mobility solutions following a systems-level development approach. RJ led the company through a tough economic environment to develop Rivian’s business strategy, vehicle platform and financial positioning. With this persistent and innovative approach, Rivian has built a talented cross-sector team, completed multiple prototype iterations and secured the significant financing needed to launch an automotive company.
Q. Why is Rivian looking to invest in Normal and Central Illinois?
A. Rivian is enthusiastic about the prospect of calling Normal home. This region has a talented and innovative workforce that will be central to Rivian’s success. The former Mitsubishi facility is a great foundation for Rivian to establish its manufacturing base, and Central Illinois is home or in close proximity to a majority of the automotive supply base that will help with production efforts.
Q. What is the timeline for a workforce ramp up?
A. The process of getting this facility up and running will be gradual, but Rivian plans to create 500 jobs by 2021, and plans to reach no less than 1,000 jobs by the time the plant reaches expected production levels.
Q. What are the benefits to the local community?
A. Beyond the direct hiring at the plant, Rivian hopes to attract suppliers to the area, which may create additional job opportunities and economic development in the region. Rivian also plans to designate part of the site for community use for outdoor recreation and first responder training, as well as establish partnerships for training programs with local educational institutions.
Through the end of the year, Rivian and officials from the regional taxing bodies will be engaged in a number of public meetings.