A major change is afoot in Linden Square as a vacant supermarket and broken down health club is in line to be replaced with shiny silver tailpipes and a Northeast headquarters for the squeals of Harley-Davidson “hawgs.”
The Boston Harley dealer – long a fixture on Revere Beach Parkway in Everett – has filed plans with the City that would clear the path to build a huge, new Harley complex on the current retail site that, admittedly, has seen better days.
The plan includes gutting and rehabilitating the existing buildings and putting up a new facade. However, before any of that can happen, the company must get a zoning change and a special permit from the City Council. The zoning change will be heard on April 22nd.
Attorney Gerry D’Ambrosio said the company will purchase the property for $12 million and put another $3 million into completely refurbishing the existing buildings – a grand total of $15 million in new investment.
“They envision this being a dealership in Massachusetts that will be a home base and which will be one of the largest franchises in the United States,” he said. “The City has been very receptive to this new development. They want this to be their flagship headquarters for the Northeast. It’s a marquee name these day – Harley-Davidson. They’re not cheap bikes. They’re the Rolls Royce of motorcycles. Their target audience is yuppie professionals.”
For the record, the zoning change includes adding Class I and II motor vehicle sales to the Industrial Park Zone. Currently, that use is not allowed in that zone. If that change is approved, the company would pursue a special permit before the Council, perhaps as soon as late May.
City Councillors said on Monday they had some initial concerns about having loud motorcycles relocating to Revere, but after seeing preliminary plans, most indicated that it looked like a good use.
Councillor Charlie Patch said he had very little reservations about it at the moment.
“I’ve seen some of the drawings and I think people will be pleased with what they want to do on the site,” he said. “It’s a dead area right now and you hate to see those areas stay dead too long. To me, it sounds like a good thing. I hate empty buildings and we don’t need another food market there…Even with the name Harley-Davidson coming to Revere, that’s a big name a little plus for Revere.”
Councillor Stephen Reardon said a new Harley dealership would likely bring a new kind of customer to that area of the city.
“Really, if you think about it, these are expensive motorcycles and their clientele are doctors and lawyers and other professionals who have the money to spend on these bikes,” said Councillor Stephen Reardon, who is the chair of the Zoning Committee.
Councillor Tony Zambuto was also favorable to the plan – at least at first glance.
Boston Harley specializes in new and used Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales, and they also have a pretty active service department. They are listed as the premiere dealer in the Boston area, and also sell a good deal of accessories.
They are currently located at 1760 Revere Beach Parkway, Everett, and their parent corporation – Black Marble Motorcycles LLC – is based out of North Hampton, NH, where they own all of the New Hampshire franchises. The partners in the company – all of North Hampton – are Daniel Stay, John McGonagle, Shawn Lillie, and Alan Contois.
The current owners of the property are Squire LLC and Wesley LLC, both based in Belmont. A storage building on the Malden side of the property is also reportedly included in the land acquisition.
D’Ambrosio added that the new administration has been key in attracting businesses like Harley.
“Mayor Rizzo and Economic Development Director John Festa have really done a marvelous job at reinventing the City’s reputation of being extremely friendly to new business,” he said. “I think that has served as a facilitator for a lot of the newfound interest in Revere…Harley-Davidson is a perfect example of that.”