UPDATE: NOVONIX investing $160 million in former Alstom plant, creating 300 jobs

The former Alstom facility in Chattanooga. WRCBtv.com photo

UPDATE: A company that makes a material for the production of lithium-ion batteries is taking over the old Alstom plant and bringing hundreds of jobs to the area.

A local developer said it fits right in with the plan for that area that started in 2019.

"It's a great win for the people in this community," Regional Director for Southeast Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Sam Wills said.

NOVONIX has been in Chattanooga for four years with about 20 employees. This expansion is a $160 million investment that will create 290 jobs in Chattanooga. They'll make room by purchasing and retrofitting the giant Alstom building on the downtown Riverfront.

"This has always been a strategic location and a strategic building inside the footprint of this city. We've gone out and marketed that, it's been done so very strategically that we can find an industry that bring a large number of jobs, an industry that brings good-paying jobs and we were fortunate enough that we feel this is a good fit for that," Wills said.

As we are moved toward a future of electric cars, NOVONIX will play a big role. They develop components of lithium-ion batteries. Wills said this expansion makes Chattanooga a player in the industry.

"It really has been a race from the battery supplier and the automotive industry to get to the production of that E vehicle," Wills said.

The hope is this re-purposing of the more than 400,000 square-foot plant can help add to the growth in this part of downtown.

"This Riverfront has been separated from our community and it's our goal and our job to reconnect the community to that riverfront," Urban Story Ventures President and Owner Jimmy White said.

Back in March 2019, Urban Story Ventures announced plans for the area to include commercial, residential, office, civic, entertainment, and event space. That group's owner said NOVONIX is a great fit.

"It helps animate the site, it brings those jobs here and then from jobs to retail and housing and a really cool, walkable development," White said.

White said the Bend Project will take about 10 to 15 years, but work has already started. The time line for when NOVONIX is going to move in has not been announced yet.

Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this developing story.

ORIGINAL STORY: An newly-announced expansion will utilize the former Alstom building with a $160 million investment and bring 300 new jobs to Chattanooga.

NOVONIX develops materials for lithium-ion batteries used for electric vehicles.

NOVONIX established its anode materials business, PUREgraphite, in March 2017 to develop and commercialize ultra-long-life, high-performance anode material for the lithium-ion battery market, specifically for electric vehicles and similar storage applications, according to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

The company plans to purchase the former Alstom building and retrofit it for their needs, and will be the company's second facility in Chattanooga.

The approximately 400,000 square-foot plant will accommodate a planned 8,000tonne per year

production operation and will join the existing operations located at 353 Corporate Place where the company has been since 2019.

"We are excited to be announcing this next phase of expansion of our anodematerials business in Tennessee. Chattanooga has been a great location for our operations over the past four years, and we look forward to growing the company in the expanding south-east hub of electric vehicle battery manufacturing. We look forward to continuing to work with the great people in Chattanooga, Hamilton County and the State of Tennessee as we help establish the domestic supply chain of key materials for the lithium-ion battery sector," said Chris Burns, CEO, NOVONIX.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said "NOVONIX represents a significant investment in a targeted industry with long term opportunity for growth. This also positions our community for

additional success in the energy storage sector."