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Kemp announces' single-largest economic development project in state history'

Rivian Automotive will build a $5 billion plant in Georgia that is expected to bring 7,500 jobs to the state.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp made a special economic development announcement Thursday afternoon that electric truck maker Rivian will invest a $5 billion plant in Georgia.

The "carbon-conscious campus" is for its electric adventure vehicles.

"Rivian will create approximately 7,500 jobs on just under 2,000 acres located at the site known as the East Atlanta Megasite, represented by the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton, and Walton counties," according to a news release from Kemp's office.

11Alive's Doug Richards previously reported last month on the possibility the Peach State could land Rivian, whose executives were looking at a potential site near Covington. The facility will be located in Stanton Springs North with construction beginning in summer of 2022. 

"On behalf of the Joint Development Authority of Stanton Springs, we are overjoyed with Rivian’s decision to call Stanton Springs home, and we welcome them to the country’s premier joint economic development partnership,” said Joint Development Authority of Stanton Springs Chairman Jerry Silvio.

State officials are calling the move the "single-largest economic development project in state history."

"We are so proud that Georgia will now be home to Rivian's largest manufacturing facility," Kemp said. "This single investment, the largest in state history, represents the future of automotive manufacturing and establishes the leading role the Peach State will play in this booming industry for generations to come.

Kemp's office said after operations are ramped up, the facility will have the ability to produce up to 400,000 vehicles per year. They added Rivian will work to secure construction and the future facility will meet its sustainability standers. 

"The entire project will support the expansion of the U.S. electric vehicle industry and will serve to decarbonize the transportation and energy sectors," the news release said. 

"We’re happy to partner with Georgia on our next manufacturing site, which will allow us to meet demand for Rivian products and to scale our business rapidly," said Rivian Chief People Officer Helen Russell. "Our work together is rooted in collaboration, transparency, fairness, and a strong sense of belonging."

Landing Rivian is a coup for Gov. Kemp, who has made economic expansion, despite the pandemic, one of his key selling points ahead of a primary battle next year in his re-election campaign. 11Alive reported last month that Rivian had been in talks with Georgia officials about tax breaks to incentivize it to locate the plant here. It's not yet clear how or if those materialized, but the AP reported Rivian chose Georgia over at least a $440 million incentive package that was offered by the City of Fort Worth, Texas.

Following its massive IPO last month, Rivian has a market value of nearly $100 billion now -- more than automaker heavyweights such as Ford and GM.

A Georgia Tech automotive engineering professor, Michael Leamy, told 11Alive last month, Rivian had already secured an order of about 100,000 vehicles from Amazon.

"From that perspective I'd say they're pretty legitimate," he said.