Harley-Davidson’s building plans approved | NevadaAppeal.com

Harley-Davidson’s building plans approved

Jill Lufrano

Harley-Davidson Financial Services officials said Monday the company plans to break ground soon for a three-story building near Carson City Airport after receiving approval for a special city permit that will allow a 65-foot height limit.

“We’re anxious to be started with the project,” said Donal cq Hummer, vice president of Community and Government Affairs.

Facing the end of its lease with property owner John Serpa at a site across the street from where the new building will be placed, the company was looking to build its own offices it could expand to hold more employees in the future.

The building site off Arrowhead Drive and Technology Way has enough room for the 98,000-square-foot complex to be shaped like a “V-Twin” engine, for which the company’s motorcycles are famous. The area was chosen for its vistas of mountains, space and visibility from the road.

A 500-car parking lot will be landscaped and sit in front of the set-back building. The complex grounds will have trees and landscaping as well as a separate event area in back for employees, stage events and road rallies.

“The building is not just for business, but a place for events throughout the year,” said consultant Christopher Goesbeck of VOA, an architecture, planning and interior design firm based in Chicago.

The company, which provides financing and insurance services for Harley Davidson motorcycle buyers and dealers, employs 425. It is one that must pay the new 2 percent employee payroll tax levied on financial institutions by the 2003 Legislature, which will cost it more than $300,000 a year. Corporate officials threatened to move the operation to Texas unless the state helped to defray some of the cost of new taxes.

In September, the state Commission on Economic Development approved a 50 percent abatement of personal property taxes for the next 10 years – which will save Harley-Davidson Financial an estimated $221,967.

It also approved a sales tax abatement on the estimated $10.45 million in equipment planned for the new building, saving the company another $522,500 in taxes. Carson City supervisors wrote a letter encouraging the state commission to grant the tax break.

The lease will run out November 2004 on Harley’s current building. The company is expecting to move into the new building by that time, Hummer said.

The Carson City Planning Commission held a special meeting Monday to consider allowing Harley to build the 65-foot-tall building in a zone that only allows 32-foot-tall buildings. Two other buildings surrounding the proposed building are taller than 32 feet.

Each story of the new building will be about 15 feet tall. An 11-foot-tall penthouse will be built on the roof. With only four commissioners present at Monday’s meeting, the special use permit was granted unanimously.

“You’re a great asset to the community,” said commission Chairman Richard Wipfli. “We’re happy to have you.”