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Friday, Dec 9, 2022

Costa Mesa Tapped for 1st Rivian Service Site in OC

Costa Mesa city officials can celebrate with buzzy Irvine electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive LLC, selecting it to be the site of its first service center in Orange County.

The Amazon-backed company, pumped with some $10.5 billion in funding and a valuation last reported to be around $70 billion, filed plans this month with the Costa Mesa Planning Commission for a 32,000-square-foot Rivian Service Center at 261-263 Briggs Ave.

The proposed operation, just off the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway near Baker Street, and next to rival Tesla’s own showroom in the city, would run 24/7 and be used for pre-inspection, delivery and minor vehicle repairs in the vein of alignments or software program updates.

The vehicle maker is leasing the building with an expected opening before the end of the year, according to city documents.

“Rivian is a technology-driven and ecologically minded business, which is very compatible and complementary to the Costa Mesa community. The building in question was remodeled in 2020 for ‘new tenants,’ so the site is perfect and ready for Rivian to open when interior improvements are completed. The Rivian Service Center will play a central role in readying vehicles for delivery to Orange County customers,” Rivian Service Design Lead Angie Prowse noted in a letter to the city’s Planning Commission last month.

A Rivian spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The facility would not only service customer vehicles that can’t be accommodated with the company’s at-home service, which takes care of maintenance from a customer’s home or office, but also would be a temporary holding ground pre-delivery.

Prowse said in the letter to the commission vehicles would be stored for a two- to 14-day period for inspections, charging and detailing before being delivered to customers.

Newport Beach’s Diamond Star Associates is assisting the EV maker with getting city approval for the project.

The Rivian Ecosystem

Costa Mesa would join El Segundo as the lone pair of Southern California service centers currently disclosed for Rivian. Elsewhere in California, there’s also one in San Francisco.

While Rivian is lofty with its goals of “creating solutions that allow us to explore the planet responsibly, shifting consumer mindsets while also inspiring other companies to fundamentally change the way they operate,” it’s also creating a next-generation service model complete with at-home vehicle servicing, high-tech software and hardware, Rivian Service Centers and the Rivian Experience Centers. The latter function more as an elevated take on the traditional showroom concept.

Rivian late last month revealed service centers in El Segundo, San Francisco, Brooklyn, N.Y; Bellevue, Wash.; and Normal, Ill. The Costa Mesa location wasn’t mentioned among its first locations.

“We are opening locations across the country this year, with many more coming online in 2022,” the company said in July.

On the Rivian Experience Center side, the company closed on its $10.7 million buy of the historic Laguna Beach South Coast Cinemas in April.

The deal, priced at nearly $1,000 per square foot, will see the property along Coast Highway in Laguna Beach turned into a Rivian brand bonanza complete with test drives, screenings and a coffee bar. It’s among the first centers of its type in the country for the company.

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe is reported to live in Laguna Beach.

The company last month also contracted with Irvine electric vehicle services provider Qmerit to handle the at-home vehicle charger installations for customers in what marked the first reported deal between an OC company and Rivian.

2nd Plant

As the infrastructure to support drivers continues to be built out, Rivian plugs away at raising more cash to fund the production of its yet-to-be released consumer vehicles.

The company has raised some $10.5 billion, most recently closing in July on a $2.5 billion round led by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, D1 Capital Partners, Ford Motor Co. and T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. funds.

The company is reported to be in talks with a few cities across the country to build a second manufacturing plant, valued at nearly $5 billion.

It would be capable of producing 200,000 vehicles a year and creating some 7,500 jobs over the next six years.

Fort Worth, Texas last week was cited by Bloomberg to be in the running for the spot, thanks to the potential of more than $400 million in incentives that could be offered to lure the vehicle maker. Arizona is also rumored to be a potential location.

The company’s first plant is a 500-acre spot in Normal, Ill.

Outside of the truck and SUV models for the consumer market, Rivian is also contracted to build 100,000 electric delivery vehicles for Amazon. The first of those models have already begun to be used for deliveries in select markets. 

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