Delay to upgrade Rivian plant costs company large tax break

Rivian will have to pay its property taxes this year because it fell short of the investment it agreed to make to upgrade the former Mitsubishi Motors factory in Normal. (File photo from news partner WMBD-TV)


By Howard Packowitz

NORMAL – Rivian Automotive has taken a little more time than originally expected to renovate the former Mitsubishi Motors factory in Normal, which means the electric vehicle maker won’t get the property tax break it hoped to receive this year from local governments.

The performance-based incentive deal with local taxing bodies had the company pledging to invest $10 million last year to restore the plant. The company did not reach that amount, so it will pay about $657,000 in property taxes.

The Unit 5 School District’s share of Rivian’s tax bill is $389,000.

Zach Dietmeier, Vice President of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, said the delay is disappointing, but does not temper all the good things happening at Rivian, including recent investments from Amazon and Ford.

“They’ve had that huge $700 million investment from Amazon. They’ve had the $500 million commitment from Ford. So, people know they are legitimate, and that they’re going to keep pressing forward, but delays happen,” Dietmeier said.

“The assembly lines will be in place here in 2019 heading into 2020. The production is going to start at the factory,” Dietmeier added.

“We’re going to see employment at the factory continue to grow exponentially here in the next couple of years as they get up and running. So it’s important to focus on the positives of that story,” Dietmeier also said.

According to Dietmeier, Rivian pledges to invest $22 million in the plant this year to receive next year’s tax break.

Rivian almost doubled the number of employees that it agreed to hire in 2018. The company now has a full-time workforce of 60 to 70 people, Dietmeier said.

Rivian plans to build the R1T pick up truck and R1S sports utility vehicle in Normal.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


Reactions to the “A Community in Conflict” exhibit

By Mike Matejka Every community has its home-town pride; Bloomington-Normal is proud to claim Steak n’ Shake and MASH TV star McLean Stevenson.  We’ve also had a moment of contention and conflict.  Sometimes these are uplifting stories of human progress. At other times, they cause us to shake our heads and wonder why. The McLean…