The old Harley-Davidson West Campus could be redeveloped into a new industrial site or commercial district in Springettsbury Township, but it might be a while before any plans take shape.
Texas-based Hillwood Development Co. this month signed a sales agreement with the York County Industrial Development Authority to purchase the 58-acre property for about $4 million.
The purchasing company is chaired by Ross Perot Jr., son of billionaire businessman Henry Ross Perot, who ran for president of the United States in 1992 and 1996.
Part of the sales agreement grants the company a period of due diligence, which could last 18 months and allows for extensions beyond that.
"With a project of this scope and size, 18 months is a realistic and appropriate time frame," said Jack Kay, chairman of the IDA.
Hillwood has not said what it intends to do with the site.
Elizabeth Corley, a company spokeswoman, said the company has no further comment regarding the York County property.
Changes to site: Since 2010, Harley razed nearly 40 buildings at the Eden Road address, and the IDA has worked to attract economic development opportunities to the now vacant site.
When it first put out feelers two years ago, developers weren't biting, but in the last year four or five developers expressed interest, according to Darrell Auterson, president and CEO of the York County Economic Alliance, which offers staff support to the IDA.
"Economic conditions weren't great when we first reached out. As conditions improved, so did the number of offers," he said.
The IDA entered into an agreement with the right developer, Auterson said.
"It's a highly reputable firm. Wherever they've gotten involved, they've been successful," he said.
Hillwood has several projects in several states throughout many industries: aviation, energy, entertainment, golf, industrial, land, office, residential and retail.
Industrial hopes: The old Harley property is only zoned for industrial and commercial, and Kay said he hopes the site returns to industrial use.
"York County has a long tradition of a strong manufacturing base, but over the last 10 years manufacturers have left or the base has not grown. Ideally, we'd like to see manufacturing return," he said.
Manufacturing would likely bring more higher-paid positions to the county than commerical jobs, Kay said.
There's also a certain cache being adjacent to Harley-Davidson's current facility, he said.
"It's an international company with a great reputation and a great brand," Kay said.
Improvements made by Harley when it built its new facility, such as road widening and improved signaling, also appeal to developers, he said.
"We're just beginning this process, and it will be a while until we know the outcome," Kay said. "But we're happy with what we've achieved so far."
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