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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Rivian Expands Irvine Ops With Spectrum Lease

Rivian Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: RIVN) has added another facility in the Irvine Spectrum for its growing operations, pushing its local real estate presence close to half a million square feet.

The electric vehicle maker recently inked a full-building lease at 40 Parker, a roughly 70,000-square-foot building near the Irvine and Lake Forest city lines, the Business Journal has learned.

The warehouse is largely empty for now and was seeing some interior work underway last week. It should be in operation for the automotive firm around midyear and is expected to eventually be used for research and development and battery testing uses by the EV firm, sources tell the Business Journal.

The building is about 10 miles down the Santa Ana (5) Freeway from Rivian’s main headquarters, which are near the Market Place shopping center and run about 190,000 square feet.

The 40 Parker site, just off Bake Parkway, is near the headquarters of fellow electric vehicle maker Karma Automotive.

In addition, Ohio’s Lordstown Motors Corp. (Nasdaq: RIDE), another EV maker, is setting up a service center nearby.

Adding Up

It’s the first sizable lease reported for Rivian in the area in over a year.

The company currently leases close to 450,000 square feet in Orange County, according to the Business Journal research.

The Parker building is owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and was last used by Irvine medical device maker Masimo Corp. (Nasdaq: MASI).

Voit Real Estate Service’s Trent Walker, Alton Burgess and Dane Olson handle leasing for the property, which had been marketed as a prospective corporate headquarters or R&D; facility.

Hiring Push

The new lease comes as Rivian continues a rapid hiring push in Orange County.

The company is currently advertising for over 600 jobs in Irvine with a focus on engineering, design and other tech-related positions. Among notable open positions, the listings indicate the company is looking to hire a handful of employees to help with self-driving features.

Along with its headquarters, Rivian uses its Irvine base as a center for housing vehicle engineering and design, propulsion and battery system development and commercial units, it says.

Companywide, Rivian leases and owns 5 million square feet of facilities, including its primary manufacturing hub in Illinois.

The company is making far bigger expansion plans outside OC of late.

In December, it announced plans to build a second manufacturing plant east of Atlanta.

The $5 billion project is expected to generate 7,500 jobs and, once fully operational, is estimated to be able to churn out as many as 400,000 vehicles annually when production begins in 2024.

Construction for the Georgia plant is expected to start this summer.

Rivian currently has over 10,000 employees.

Stock Slump

The upstart EV maker went public in November, making waves as Orange County’s largest IPO on record, by a wide margin.

Nationally, it was the most anticipated IPO of 2021, raising more than any other U.S. company since 2014, with gross proceeds of $13.7 billion.

With a valuation at one point topping $150 billion, it became the most valuable public company OC’s ever seen.

It’s seen a steep drop in stock price since then. As of late last week, the company was valued around $50 billion, trailing Irvine’s Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW), which is valued around $68 billion, as the area’s most valuable public company.

Rivian’s valuation now runs about the same as another automaker with a goal of taking on EV king Tesla Inc., Lucid Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LCID). Lucid last week unveiled a new showroom at Fashion Island. 

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