- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Rivian Automotive has completed its purchase of the former Mitsubishi plant in the central Illinois city of Normal, where it plans to manufacture electric vehicles.

Rivian Automotive CEO R.J. Scaringe said in a statement Thursday that the company “couldn’t be more excited” in purchasing the plant. He added the location will be crucial to bringing the company’s products to market.

“The company is going to hit the ground running with renovations and redesigns in the plant to ensure it’s in line with the 2019 start production timeline,” said Rivian spokeswoman Samantha Flynn. “Rivian will also be discussing current and future opportunities with suppliers and vendors, as well as determining community projects and initiatives. The company aims to refurbish portions of the factory for community and third party use prior to full production.”

Normal City Manager Mark Peterson said officials are “very pleased” Rivian followed through with their intention to buy the plant.

Peterson added he has “been encouraged” that Rivian announced plans to work with local educational institutions for a variety of training and technical programs.

The 2.4 million-square-foot plant was shut down by Mitsubishi in November 2015. At its peak, the plant employed about 3,000 workers. The last of its employees were laid off last May.

Scaringe said Rivian plans to employ 1,000 and invest $175 million in making electric vehicles in Normal.

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Information from: The Pantagraph, https://www.pantagraph.com

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