If final approvals are met, the owner of a Harley-Davidson dealership will build a new location for his business in Whitehall Township.
The spot will be next to the planned Lidl grocery store at the intersection with MacArthur and Eberhardt roads, said Bob Eggstein, owner and president of Keystone Harley-Davidson in Parryville, Carbon County.
He said the Whitehall motorcycle dealership will be a relocation of his Parryville spot. He said he is not certain if he will also keep open that location.
For the Whitehall location, Eggstein said, he received preliminary final approval last week from the township’s planning commission.
When Crossroads Harley-Davidson closed its location off Route 309 near Coopersburg in 2011, it left a void for those looking for a Harley dealer in the Valley, he said.
“They went out of business and left a big hole in the Lehigh Valley,” Eggstein said.
He started looking for land and said it took a while to find the right place.
“It’s got a lot of potential,” Eggstein said. “It would not be considered what we call, a destination dealership.”
Many customers who go to the Parryville location make a day of their visit, he said. In contrast, the Whitehall location will offer proximity to Lidl and a number of other retailers.
“This location gives us the best of both worlds,” Eggstein said. “Those people can now just stop in.”
He expects to see additional foot traffic from new customers and additional business for service, parts and clothing, all departments the new 32,000-square-foot dealership will have, including rentals and accessories.
“It’s a huge opportunity for the brand,” Eggstein said. “For the Harley brand to come back to the Valley is big news. Our brand is a very community-oriented brand, as well.”
He still needs final approvals from Harley-Davidson’s corporate office, and the construction start hinges on the how soon the Lidl project can proceed since the grocery store is contributing financing for improving the MacArthur and Eberhardt intersection.
“We are working in conjunction with that,” Eggstein said. “That’s going to determine exactly when we can break ground.”
Earlier this month, Lidl received preliminary final approval from the township.
Eggstein said it’s likely construction for the new Harley-Davidson won’t begin until next year, though it’s possible it could be earlier. A mid-2018 opening is possible, he said.
The estimated construction cost is still being determined, but he said it would be more than $6.5 million.
He has 27 employees at the Parryville location and could possibly add another 15 once the Whitehall location opens. He also said the new location could be open later into the evening and possibly seven days a week, which the area could support.
The existing operation has more limited hours.
Eggstein said Feinberg Real Estate Advisors of South Whitehall Township helped to find and secure the land.
Cindy McDonnell Feinberg, principal at Feinberg, represented Eggstein, who bought the land.
Feinberg said they had been looking for the perfect spot for almost three years.
Eggstein bought the land from nearby Gilboy Ford.
With its centralized location and proximity to Route 22, the Whitehall location could also bring more Pocono-area business for Harley-Davidson to the township, said Steve Cihylik, a commercial broker for Hanna Frederick Commercial of South Whitehall Township.
Monroe County, though, has a Harley-Davidson dealership in Snydersville, Pocono Mountain Harley-Davidson, which is just off Route 33.
Cihylik represented the Gilboy Ford property owners in the deal.
Lidl, Harley-Davidson and the Ford property will bring additional business to that site, Cihylik said.
“Lidl is going to bring a lot of people; it’s relatively easy to get off and on [MacArthur Road],” Cihylik said.
Another Lehigh Valley firm is involved in the Harley-Davidson project, as the Bohler Engineering office in Upper Saucon Township is handling the engineering.