MASON CITY — Harley-Davidson corporate officials started talking to Steve Minert about moving his Mason City dealership out toward the interstate highway in 2003.

“Harley corporate was moving all their dealerships to high-traffic areas. They wanted us to move,” said Minert, whose business is at 706 S. Federal Ave.

Last fall, Minert got the word again — corporate wanted him to move.

“It was an emotional roller coaster,” he said. “We wanted to stay where we were, but we had a deal on the interstate pretty much done.”

City and EDC officials learned of the possible move and worked to put a deal together for the business to stay on South Federal.

“The support the city gave us was the straw that broke the camel’s back” for corporate, said Minert.

“In terms of staying where we are, we were able to tell them we want it, our customers want it, the city wants it — and the city has skin in the game. I don’t think they’d ever seen anything quite like this.”

The result is Harley-Davidson is staying put.

The “skin in the game” is part of a development agreement that will come before the City Council Tuesday night.

The council approved general terms of the agreement last year. On Tuesday it will act on the finalized agreement.

The terms include:

• Harley-Davidson will maintain 20 fulltime employees through the life of the agreement and will add at least six new employees by Nov. 1, 2013, with a minimum average starting wage of $10 an hour.

• Harley-Davidson will make improvements to the building that will increase its assessed value by about $1 million upon completion of improvements. The project is to be completed in three phases with the last phase completed no later than Oct. 1, 2013.

• The city will provide a $100,000 forgivable loan, forgiven at a rate of $10,000 a year for 10 years contingent on continued operation of the business at that location; a 10-year, 100 percent tax rebate on the new valuation created by the expansion and renovation; relocation of the natural gas line in the alley to the west of the building, paid for by the city with a maximum cost of $25,000; and the city will vacate and convey the alley west of the current store to Harley-Davidson.

The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Mason City Room of the public library.

(2) comments

Jim S

I’ve followed this story since the beginning and very glad to hear these details. The motorcycle shop looks terrific and helps South Federal.


For once we kept a going concern in Mason City. Everyone certainly did not agree with the plan but it appears to have worked.

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