Potential redevelop of former Harley-Davidson site could create 725 jobs


The potential redevelopment of the former Harley-Davidson west campus in Springettsbury Township could create 725 jobs and would put the land back on the tax rolls.

Officials with the York County Economic Alliance presented a tax abatement proposal to York County commissioners during their weekly meeting Wednesday, which included some details about the plan.

A 755,000-square-foot building is proposed for the 58-acre property at 1445 Eden Road and is in the pre-development phase, said Blanda Nace, vice president of community affairs with the alliance.

Construction of the $40 million project could get underway early in 2016, and the building could be in use later that year, according to the proposal.

But a development plan hasn't yet been submitted to the township, Nace said.

"We continue to work hard to get a developer on board for this site," said he in an email. "We want to see some real job creation happen on the site."

Tax roll: The York County Industrial Development Authority bought the property from Harley-Davidson in 2012 for $500,000. It has an assessed value of $3.75 million, according to county tax records.

Since the authority owns the property, it has been tax exempt for roughly four years.

"That's why it's so important to get a development in," Nace said.

Under Harley-Davidson ownership, the property featured 28 buildings used in its manufacturing process. But in a 2009 company reconfiguration, the buildings were razed, leaving mostly a blank concrete slab, Nace said.

The site is under contact to be purchased by NorthPoint Development of Missouri, he said, noting the property was previously under contract two other times, including with a developer who wanted to create a large retail development, but both deals fell through.

Harley-Davidson and the U.S. Department of Defense are responsible for most of the groundwater and soil contamination remediation, but the future owner will be on the hook for an estimated $1.35 million in remediation costs.

Jobs: Exactly what kind of business would set up shop on the site remains to be seen. But, Nace said, some sectors under consideration include light manufacturing, distribution and a warehouse.

The fact that the property is located just off Route 30 and is about a mile from Interstate 83 should make it attractive for businesses, he said.

"They really don't know yet who their tenants will be," Nace said.

Using an equation based on the size the building, the site could employee 725 people, he said.

Since a tenant for the to-be-built facility hasn't been identified, alliance officials did economic projections based on 650 jobs, plus an anticipated 162 construction jobs to complete the project. Using those numbers, the alliance estimated the site would have an $109 million direct impact on the local economy, Nace said.

LERTA: As part of the redevelopment plan, the industrial development authority is asking for the site be included in the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program, used as an incentive to boost economic development.

Darrel Auterson, president and CEO of the alliance and board secretary of the authority, noted the oddity of the authority asking for tax abatement since it's usually businesses seeking to be included in the program.

"This is a little different than the LERTA requests we brought in the past," he told commissioners.

Under LERTA, property taxes on the improvements will be phased in over the course of 10 years. It must be approved by all three taxing bodies — the county, municipality and school district.

All three are expected to vote on the measure next week, Nace said.

Once fully on the tax rolls, the property is expected to generated nearly $569,000 in tax dollars yearly.

"You've done a good job bringing jobs to York County. Let's get this one nailed down," Steve Chronister, president commissioner, said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.