Riverbike of Arkansas LLC, parent company of Rock City Harley-Davidson, closed last week on its $ 2.4 million purchase of a 5.5-acre lot at the Gateway Town Center in Little Rock and plans to break ground on a new facility in the first quarter of 2018.
Rock City Harley-Davidson plans to move from its current location at 10210 Interstate 30 once the new 40,000-SF dealership is completed. The site is near Dave & Buster’s and fronts Interstate 430.
Riverbike of Arkansas is a part of the Hickingbotham Investments Inc. group, and Mason Lewis and Isaac Smith of Colliers International Arkansas represented both parties in the sale.
“The addition of Harley further solidifies Gateway as Arkansas’ premiere entertainment destination,” Smith, principal and executive vice of Colliers International Arkansas, said in a news release.
Gene Whisenhunt, president and COO of Hickingbotham Investments, said in the release, “We are committed to offering our customers the complete Harley-Davidson experience and this location and the new facility will allow us to better serve our customers in Arkansas.”
Rock City Harley-Davidson and its satellite location in Conway, Toad Suck Harley-Davidson, offer new and pre-owned motorcycle sales, service, parts and financing along with official Harley-Davidson apparel and merchandise. In addition, the dealership offers Harley-Davidson Riding Academy, a motorcycle training course for new owners.
Whisenhunt told Arkansas Business that the new dealership at the Gateway Town Center would be double the size of the current Little Rock dealership, both in square footage and acreage. He declined to give an estimate for the project, saying it is in an early design phase.
Whisenhunt said Hickingbotham Investments is required to hire an interior design firm approved by Harley-Davidson Motor Co. So the firm has hired Design Works of Irvine, California. He said Design Works had worked on six other projects for the firm.
Hickingbotham Investments has also hired John McMorran of Lewis Architects Engineers of Little Rock to design and do the engineering for this project.
The current dealership has an off-site training course, but it can only be used to teach six students at a time. The new course will be onsite and could be used to train 12 students at a time. It’ll take up about 1.5 acreas and be “completely level.”
“Really what it is it’s just open area, but that area will have different paintings and striping on it in different colors,” Whisenhunt said. “And all those are used to teach people how to appropriately respond to situations on a motorcycle, how to turn, how to handle the motorcycle in a safe manner, how to stop it quickly and all those things you might face when you’re out on the road.”
The the dealership offers a two-day course. Riders attend Friday evening, Saturday and part of Sunday. They can come back and practice on the course after they’ve completed the class, Whisenhunt said.
Hickingbotham Investments has 10 Harley-Davidson locations in Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma. The group bought the Little Rock and Conway dealerships in January.
Whisenhunt said the firm owned those two dealerships years ago, for about nine years, sold them and bought them back this year.
There are no immediate plans to expand other locations in Arkansas or add new locations, but Whisenhunt said Hickingbotham is exploring all its options. Whisenhunt also said the firm might consider re-opening a dealership in Hot Springs.