Rivian Plans Showroom for Trendiest Part of Brooklyn

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Electric-truck startup Rivian has signed the lease for its first showroom in New York City and has selected one of the trendiest spots in Brooklyn. Once known for its high crime rate, Williamsburg has undergone three decades of gentrification and is now awash with luxury retailers normally reserved for the swankiest parts of Manhattan. In the 1990s, the neighborhood was still rough around the edges but had started to become ground zero for the East Coast hipsters, starving artists, and young musicians who gradually influenced its trajectory. The next three decades saw Williamsburg moving steadily upward with rental prices keeping pace. Riverside warehouses were replaced with high-rise hotels, the average household income closed on six figures, and dog parks are situated conveniently near designer ice cream shops.

It’s now the perfect place for a showroom dedicated entirely to electric vehicles, especially one that seems like a merger between Tesla Motors and REI.

That’s not an insult to Rivian, either. Tesla and REI are companies catering to an extremely loyal customer base with money to burn. If you need to select a demographic, there are definitely worse options to choose from. For example, extremely poor people probably wouldn’t have enough money for a new car, let alone an electric pickup starting somewhere around $75,000. But someone who just dumped six grand on camping gear might.

Rivian made its announcement on Monday, with neither hide nor hair of an official press release, with Bloomberg accidentally becoming its PR department. But we managed to confirm that the Amazon-backed had indeed moved on a slice Brooklyn, with similar showrooms being planned for California and Illinois.

From Bloomberg:

California-based Rivian is opening a New York flagship in Williamsburg, according to a statement Monday. The lease at 360 Wythe Ave. spans more than 12,000 square feet (1,115 square meters) and will be a showroom for electric vehicles.

Williamsburg’s retail corridors have stayed busy during the pandemic, and the area’s “relatively young, relatively wealthy” residents were also part of the allure for Rivian, said Ken Copeland, partner and chief investment officer at Flank, the developer of 360 Wythe.

The company’s first model will be the R1T Launch Edition, priced from $75,000 (minus the $7,500 federal EV tax credit) and available in June. Deliveries of the Rivian R1S SUV are supposed to start in August, with an MSRP of $77,500 before tax credits. Alternative (non-introductory) trims for both models are supposed to become available early in 2022.

Sales will be direct-to-consumer, like Tesla, with the brand hoping to establish 40+ service locations inside the United States. Showrooms like the one in Brooklyn are designed to pique interest and will likely have a way of getting the ball rolling on making a purchase. But they’re not supposed to become delivery centers — more like an interactive gallery.

[Images: Rivian]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Mar 16, 2021

    It makes sense for Rivian to set up shop in Williamsburg. There’s the stereotype of Prius or old 240 Volvo driving hipster there however there are plenty of small truck, Tacoma and Ranger owners as well as full sizers who would be interested in one. You’ll also see vintage FJ Land Cruisers and Land Rovers parked on the street.

  • TR4 TR4 on Mar 17, 2021

    I'd have thought NYC is one of the worst places to own an electric vehicle. It is generally acknowledged that having your own private garage (or at least driveway) is necessary to allow charging at home. How many Williamsburg residences meet this criterion?

    • See 1 previous
    • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Mar 17, 2021

      @Russycle I reside in outer borough NYC. There’s been an expansion of charging stations in parking garages and more upscale apartment buildings. There’s also a few in municipal lots.

  • Lou_BC Too much money.
  • Lou_BC "The Cannonball Run" "The Gumball Rally""Corvette Summer""Duel""Gone in 60 Seconds"
  • Wjtinfwb I really don't care about charging stations, EVs, their drivers or the issues that seem to plague them and the ownership experience. My use case requires much better range and fueling options than what EVs offer, at least current state. If an EV works for you, great. It doesn't work for me and that's OK as well. hat I object to however, is the Government involvement in a personal use decision and trying to force a technology into widespread adoption when it and its support network is clearly not ready. I also object to Federal dollars, gleaned from the taxpayers being used to subsidize this nascent technology and most importantly, I object to the gaslighting by the Administration that tries to convince consumers that range isn't an issue. Recharging isn't an issue. Cold weather isn't an issue. Fires aren't an issue. The ownership experience disappointment is validated by the poor resale value of EV's and the McKinsey report that states that 50% of EV owners plan to switch back to a gas powered vehicle. I don't have the disposable income to make a 40k mistake and take a beating on getting rid of it. But again, if it works for you, that's what matters. Cheers.
  • MKizzy The top executives of many of the Fortune 500 companies support GOP candidates with their votes and donations while happily filling their corporate coffers with Progressive dollars. Unlike Musk however, they're smart enough to at least try to keep it to themselves. Perhaps Musk's political openness combined with his seemingly declining interest in Tesla is a sign he'll abandon Tesla by the end of the decade.
  • Jpolicke I don't know of any gas stations with a single pump.