Jeramey Jannene

Harley-Davidson Creating Major Community Park

Company hires acclaimed designer to help transform its headquarters.

By - Jan 11th, 2023 06:30 am
Harley-Davidson park rendering at 3700 W. Juneau Ave. Rendering by Heatherwick Studios.

Harley-Davidson park rendering at 3700 W. Juneau Ave. Rendering by Heatherwick Studios.

Harley-Davidson announced the first phase of its planned headquarters transformation Wednesday. It has hired award-winning design firm Heatherwick Studio to design a community park at its Near West Side campus.

“Milwaukee is the place we have proudly called home for 120 years. We want Harley-Davidson’s presence in Milwaukee to be more relevant than ever before, for our community, employees and our customers,” said CEO Jochen Zeitz in a press release. “It’s important to us to protect and enhance this part of our heritage in a way that is aligned to our strategy, ensuring that it will be relevant to generations to come. Kicking the project off in our 120th year underscores both the importance of the project and the commitment that we are making to Milwaukee. We are very proud by the work of the Harley-Davidson Foundation in spearheading this project, which builds on the $30 million donated by the Motor Company to the Foundation since 2020.”

The new park, as depicted in a rendering, will replace many of the surface parking lots at 3700 W. Juneau Ave. The company has yet to make a full return to the office following the onset of the pandemic.

The central feature is to be “The Hub,” a sunken, multi-use events space. It will provide views of the brick buildings the company has occupied for approximately 120 years and of a new natural environment. The release says there are also plans for a market street, garden and nature-focused playground.

“Its circular layout is defined by a combination of motorcycle driveways and turning circles, parking bays, sidewalks, plants and seats, and 360-degree viewpoints. The Hub will be built with 10 types of locally sourced brick, natural wany-edge timber, and weathered steel with a beautifully warm patina,” says the press release.

The project is to be privately funded. The motorcycle company transferred the land to its foundation earlier this week.

Heatherwick, known for designing Little Island on a pier in New York City, will collaborate with Milwaukee firms HGA and Greenfire Management Services on the project. The extent to which the park ultimately mirrors the $260 million New York park remains to be seen, but the park was referenced multiple times in Harley’s press release.

A groundbreaking is planned for 2023 with a 2024 park opening.

“This gift to the Foundation is the most recent demonstration of the company’s commitment to its enduring, active community presence and Inclusive Stakeholder Management approach to business that strives to positively impact people, planet and profit,” said foundation president Julie Anding. “The Harley-Davidson Foundation is doubling down on our focus and investments to support the neighborhood to make it a place all can be proud to live, work and visit. It is our hope that this park will become the heart of the community and catalyst for further revitalization efforts.”

Zeitz set off a wave of speculation in October when he told Bloomberg that the headquarters campus, 3700 W. Juneau Ave., would remain “integral” to the company, but more attention would be paid to remote work capabilities. On Dec. 13, the Milwaukee Common Council approved a request to subdivide the company’s 18.24-acre property into more parcels. The move, legally known as a certified survey map, makes it possible to sell portions of a property in the future.

The two large surface parking lots that face W. Highland Ave. were set up as a single, 3.95-acre property. A remnant of N. 37th St. runs between the lots, but was previously vacated by the city and is now part of the new parcel.

The surface parking lot along N. 35th St. was also carved out as a 1.84-acre parcel. A Kohl’s grocery once occupied much of the site, located just south of W. Juneau Ave. On the north side of W. Juneau Ave., the former Westside Marketplace shopping center, which Harley acquired in 2018, already sits in its own 3.61-acre parcel addressed as 1235 N. 35th St. Two streets that bisect the multi-block campus, the former W. Juneau Ave. and N. 38th St., were established as stand-alone, privately-owned parcels.

Renderings and Little Island Photos


2 thoughts on “Harley-Davidson Creating Major Community Park”

  1. David Coles says:

    I don’t know about you, but when I am at the park, there is nothing I want to hear more than the roar of motorcycles. /s

    This is an odd concept. Prove me wrong, Harley.

  2. Polaris says:

    Agreed. As much as I reread the news of H-D’s plans for the park and want to love it, I just can’t help but think, “How weird…” Is this a master stroke in planning that will address multiple uses or an attempt to appeal to many audiences that will end of appealing to no one? Or, is it meant to help make more palatable something yet to be announced.

    And, yes, do I want to enjoy a park or a performance with hogs running through it?


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