Site visit lifts county's hopes for landing Harley

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Harley-Davidson Inc. officials were in Shelby County yesterday assessing it as a location for a new motorcycle plant, but it isn’t yet clear how the county stacks up to other U.S. locales that also are in the running for the economic-development prize.

Management from the Milwaukee-based company toured Shelby County after visiting two other potential sites -- Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Shelbyville, Ky. -- earlier in the week, Harley spokesman Bob Klein told the Business Journal of Milwaukee. He said a fourth U.S. community also is under consideration, but he declined to identify it because management hasn’t made a visit.

The company is scouting sites as it considers scaling back or discontinuing production at an aging complex in York, Pa., that employs 2,500. Workers there are scattered across 42 buildings with a total of 1 million square feet. A new plant could employ more than 1,000.

Shelbyville Mayor Scott Furgeson said this morning that city officials have not offered any economic incentives, but he thinks the state is putting a package together.

“It’s always too early to get excited until you see them digging in the ground,” Furgeson said. “But just reading about it, it’s an exciting project.”

A spokeswoman for the Indiana Economic Development Corp. wouldn’t discuss Harley’s interest in Indiana, saying “it’s just too early.”

Incentives could play a key role in attracting or retaining jobs. The state of Pennsylvania already has pledged $15 million that Harley-Davidson could apply toward upgrading the York complex.

Ferguson is unsure how Shelby County turned up on Harley-Davidson’s radar. Typically, large companies hire a site-selection consultant who contacts economic development organizations such as the Indy Partnership, which puts feelers out, Ferguson said. 

An Indy Partnership representative declined to comment.

The company expects to decide how to proceed by the end of the year. Calls to Harley Davidson were not returned this morning.

Harley-Davidson is an iconic American corporation that is struggling financially amid the recession and an aging demographic.

In fact, these are probably the leanest times Harley has faced since going public in 1986, analysts said.

“We are going with the scenario that 2009 is not going to offer any type of recovery for Harley,” Edward D. Jones & Co. analyst Robin Diedrich said in a recent report.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

  2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

  3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

  4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

  5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).