NORMAL — The day Gov. Bruce Rauner welcomed Rivian Automotive to Illinois, state officials finally detailed their incentives that helped to bring the company to Normal's former Mitsubishi Motors North America plant.
Rivian, which operates research facilities near Detroit and San Francisco but plans to make Normal the manufacturing core of its upcoming line of electric cars, will receive state tax credits worth about $49.5 million for creating 1,000 jobs over 10 years, said a Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokesperson.
The award is a tax credit assessed on income tax for the created jobs, taking into account salary for each position and how many jobs were created at the end of each year. The estimated total is for 10 years of credits assuming Rivian hits its performance goals.
The credits are through the state's EDGE, or Economic Development for a Growing Economy, program, which is intended to help create local jobs.
Rivian also is in line to receive $1 million from the town of Normal and a five-year property tax abatement, both also based on performance. That abatement was approved by taxing bodies that receive property taxes from the plant, including McLean County Unit 5 schools and Heartland Community College.
Rivian bought the site for $2 million in January — that figure does not include any personal property, including the contents of the plant — and plans to begin manufacturing electric cars there in 2019 to bring to market in 2020.
Rauner received a tour of the plant before addressing local officials and media on Tuesday, saying, "This is a great day for the people of Central Illinois, and this is a great day for the people of all Illinois."
"This plant is an incredible asset, and now, thanks to the creativity and hard work of an American, innovative entrepreneur ... we have an opportunity to create a better economic future for hundreds and hundreds of people here in Central Illinois," he said.
Rauner said he hopes that entrepreneur, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe, also can help bring other automotive companies to the plant and "create an ecosystem of innovative and great new products in the automotive field."
He also thanked Rivian for its early interest in community partnerships, including using the plant to teach science, technology, engineering and math students at local schools.
Scaringe thanked Rauner for his part in bringing the company to Normal and recalled how his interest in the facility "very quickly transitioned from us looking at this as a building full of equipment to this being our future home."
"What we immediately started to see as we got to know the community is this was much more than just a plant," he said. "The energy and (philosophy of Normal)... was so in line with how we view the world."
Both also acknowledged a task force of local officials who worked for 18 months to find a new user for the Mitsubishi plant, led by Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council CEO Kyle Ham.
Normal Mayor Chris Koos, part of that task force, said, "This day promises a future of many more exciting announcements." He paused to note the plant is now named for Rivian, and that will be "the name going forward, obviously."
"Rivian's values and brand perfectly align with our values and brand in Normal. ... We look forward to you exemplifying everything we believe," he said. "We challenge you to challenge us."
Rauner also unveiled an official proclamation welcoming Rivian to the state.
"RJ's taking a risk. It's going to take time. There's going to be challenges," he said. "We as a community will try to do everything we can to help him overcome the challenges to make Rivian hugely successful here in the state of Illinois."