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Rivian Inks Largest Local Lease

Electric Vehicles: New 219K-SF building near HQ

­­Rumblings of a round of job cuts at Rivian Automotive Inc. hasn’t kept Orange County’s largest electric vehicle maker company from significantly ramping up its local real estate footprint.

Real estate sources indicate the company (Nasdaq: RIVN) has signed a 219,000-square-foot lease for the entirety of 14451 Myford Road, a Panattoni Development building currently under construction near the company’s headquarters.

By square footage, the deal is the largest to date in OC for Irvine-based Rivian, which now counts a local real estate presence approaching 700,000 square feet. That figure puts Rivian on the same page as Fountain Valley-based Hyundai North America, which has long counted the largest OC footprint of all local automakers.

It’s the third building in the immediate area for Rivian; its headquarters are a few doors away on Myford Road, and it also leases an industrial facility a few blocks away in Tustin for its electric battery division.

The lease is among the largest in Orange County this year by square footage.

The Irvine office of Cushman & Wakefield represented Irvine-based Panattoni in the deal, property records indicate.

 

Labor Cuts?

Panattoni bought the nearly 7-acre site, located on the Tustin side of Myford Avenue, about two years ago for $32.4 million. It has since razed the prior buildings at the property to make way for the new development, which is nearing completion.

Rivian will move into the building next October in a lease that spans three years, records indicate.

It’s not clear if Rivian intends to move part of its regional operations into the building or add the property to its growing real estate collection.

The latter would stand in contrast to reports earlier this month indicating the company may cut around 5% of its workforce, or about 700 people. The company’s total headcount stands around 14,000 employees and in OC it employs nearly 2,000.

Rivian advertised north of 600 local job openings as of a few months ago.

Rivian said this month it was on track to meet its annual production goals of delivering 25,000 vehicles by the end of the year.

The EV maker, which is beginning to roll out its R1S sport utility vehicle, alongside its inaugural vehicle, the R1T pickup truck, is among OC’s most valuable public companies with a market cap of $30 billion as of last week. It also makes electric-powered delivery vans for Amazon, one of its largest financial backers.

 

Offerings for the Outdoors

The Rivian R1T pickup truck is built for outdoor recreation, a sector that’s taken off during the pandemic (see altCamp story, front page).

“People after this pandemic have kind of reconnected with nature and going outside,” Rivian Field Specialist Andrew Dinh told the Business Journal last month during a tour of the company’s new service and delivery center in Costa Mesa.

“Our number one buyer right now is someone who wants a truck that is capable of taking them wherever they want to go.”

Features for the R1T include a gear tunnel for storage and cargo crossbars for bikes and other equipment. A camp kitchen, which retails separately for north of $5,000, includes a two-burner cooktop, 4-gallon water tank and collapsible sink. The automaker also has a rooftop tent available for purchase for the R1T and R1S SUV.

While some Rivian buyers make a road trip across the country to pick up their vehicles, others host parties when their vehicle is delivered to their home, Dinh said.

“I’ve pulled up and there’s been like 20 people because all the neighbors have Rivian orders too and they want to see” the car for themselves, Dinh said.

 

OC Holdings

Rivian, which went public in November 2021, counted a real estate presence around 50,000 square feet in Irvine at the start of 2020 before signing several leases to significantly ramp up its local pr­esence.

The just-leased new building is down the street from Rivian’s main base at 14600 Myford Road. It relocated its headquarters from Michigan to the spot in 2020. That building spans roughly 186,000 square feet.

In the Irvine Spectrum, the company’s added another 110,000 square feet of space at a pair of buildings over the past year.

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

Costa Mesa, meanwhile, is now home to Rivian’s first service center in OC; the 32,000-square-foot location along Briggs Avenue showcases the vehicles and their features.

The company now counts 21 service centers total, with three in Southern California.

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.

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.

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