Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Harley-Davidson’s New Event Venue

The Garage will offer skyline views, industrial-chic style.

By - Apr 15th, 2022 04:12 pm
Construction of The Garage at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Construction of The Garage at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Construction is progressing quickly on “The Garage” at the Harley-Davidson Museum campus, 400 W. Canal St.

The one-story, 8,200-square-foot building is replacing Chrome, a seasonal tent structure used for formal events. It’s also being built on nearly the exact footprint of the tent, at the south end of the campus overlooking the South Menomonee Canal and Menomonee River. The new building will offer floor-to-ceiling glass doors that offer views of the downtown skyline and surrounding campus.

There will certainly be plenty of motorcycle-themed events in the new structure, but it reflects the reality that the museum has also carved out a niche as a distinctly-Milwaukee place to hold an event. That was proven out Wednesday as several hundred movers-and-shakers descended on the 20-acre campus to watch Mayor Cavalier Johnson‘s inauguration.

Johnson, speaking from the Rumble event space located elsewhere in the complex, said that the museum was located at the meeting point of Milwaukee’s north and south sides. But for many, it will be remembered as the meeting place for two families as the new event space is likely to host hundreds of future weddings.

As the new event space opens this spring, another is closing. The original venue named “The Garage,” located on the northwest corner of the complex, will be repurposed. The 9,294-square-foot, 1,000-guest space will be redeveloped into a retail store. The existing store at the campus will be reconfigured into the “Factory Shop” offering discontinued items.

What’s with using the name “The Garage” twice? It’s an homage to Harley-Davidson’s history. The company was founded in a garage (or shed) on the city’s West Side in 1903.

The tent-to-building model follows a similar path that Discovery World pursued when it added a new structure to the north of its lakefront building. A 10,000-square-foot addition replaced a long-standing tent in 2018.

Morton Buildings is serving as the design-build contractor on the new event venue, with HGA providing design support. Those working at the job site have been able to look south across the canal to watch the Rite-Hite headquarters rise in the Reed Street Yards business park. That multi-building complex will open this year.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the new event venue was held in July 2021.

Motor Bar & Restaurant continues to operate on the eastern side of the museum complex. The motorcycle company operates the venues and restaurant in a partnership with Levy Restaurants known as 1903 Events. The museum opened in 2008 at the eastern end of the Menomonee Valley.


Renderings and Site Plan

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