The long-awaited site plan for Rivian Automotive’s new multi-billion dollar electric car manufacturing plant in Stanton Springs North was released this week.
Rivian’s new site plan paints a stark picture of how unprecedented the massive plant will be when fully built, spanning 2,000 acres in Morgan and Walton counties.
“We’ve never seen anything like it here,” said Walton County Economic Development Manager Shane Short.
The vast green pastures of the former Verner and Bowden family farmlands in Rutledge will soon be covered in concrete, becoming the hub of industrial development heading into Rutledge town centre.
“Many of Rivian’s buildings will be built on former Verner family farmland and Bowden family farmland,” Short said. “This will help preserve some of the green spaces and wetlands closer to I-20 and US Highway 278. The plant will be approximately three miles from the town of Rutledge.”
According to the recently released site plan, approximately 13 million square feet of the Rivian plant will be built in Morgan County. The total project requires up to 20 million square feet of construction space.
Rivian’s new plant could be up to 20 times larger than Takeda Pharmaceutical’s Stanton Springs plant, which is 1 million square feet. Even Kia’s West Point, Georgia plant is just 2.2 million square feet.
For a visual comparison, 20 million square feet of building space equals 347 football fields. It would be three times bigger than Disneyland and four times bigger than Vatican City.
In addition to manufacturing warehouses and office buildings, roads, parking lots, access points and stormwater management areas will also be constructed in Morgan County for the project.
Rivian will invest up to $5 billion in the new plant, generate 7,500 jobs and produce 400,000 electric vehicles per year when fully operational. Details of the site plan were revealed after Morgan County Planning Director Chuck Jarrell filed two Developmental Regional Impact (DRI) statements with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, as the requires the law for the project to go ahead.
Jarrell said the Joint Development Authority (JDA) expects to earn $100 million in local tax revenue each year from Rivian’s development, which will be split among Morgan, Walton, Newton and Jasper counties, as well as the City of Social Circle.
Jarrell also noted that Rivian’s development will affect 26 landowners who control 43 parcels of land in Morgan and Walton counties. Short said all owners involved voluntarily sold their land to the JDA, and no eminent domain was used to acquire land for the Rivian development.
The site plan also calls for major roadworks in and around the Rivian Automotive plant. Jarrell said a traffic study will be conducted in the near future to determine all the details.
Going forward, the site plan calls for the construction of a new exit off I-20 to Old Mill Road in Rutledge. Other improvements include widening US Highway 278 and connecting Old Mill Road to Highway 278.
Short believes the Rivian plant will bring significant benefits to the people of Morgan County and beyond, while becoming a force for environmental protection and stewardship.
“In all my years of economic development, this is the greenest company I have ever encountered. Their mission is to reduce the carbon footprint of our world,” Short said. “But we’re very excited about the jobs it will bring to the region…Rivian will provide generational career opportunities and benefits for thousands of families.”
Short and JDA members held a community meeting at Social Circle Middle School on Tuesday, January 11 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the new site plan and other details of Rivian Automotive’s development. At press time, details of the reunion were not yet available.