Sigma revs up Harley-Davidson Museum site


Following consideration of numerous sites, an underutilized property at the east end of the former heavily industrialized Menomonee Valley was selected for the Harley-Davidson Museum. Parcels included abandoned salt, sand and gravel facilities; vacant lots with a history of manufacturing, loading / shipping docks, and coal storage; and an active Public Works yard with an asphalt plant and numerous buildings, structures, ASTs and USTs. The-20 acre site with river frontage on three sides was historically filled in the late 1800s. Harley-Davidson redeveloped the site with 130,000 square feet of new archive, display, restaurant, retail buildings, reconstructed historic roads, and created outdoor green space with a river walk, public access, and vehicular parking gardens.

The location of the Harley-Davidson Museum prior to redevelopment.

Site Selection

Performed Phase 1 and 2 activities at numerous sites prior to final Museum site selection. In each case, environmental and civil engineering issues were identified and potential cost ranges necessary to address them were provided in an expedited schedule to assist decision-making prior to property acquisition.


Surveyed all easements, structures and utilities during site selection and pre-demolition. Performed ALTA survey for all existing parcels. Provided on-going redevelopment layout and construction staking for all buildings and infrastructure, dockwall bulkhead locating, and other survey needs throughout site construction.

Investigation / Remediation

Located and reviewed existing Phase 1 and 2 information for various portions of the site. Developed and performed a comprehensive soil and groundwater phased investigation scope to evaluate potential environmental risks. Provided owner estimate of financial risk from identified environmental conditions and required remedial actions prior to property acquisition. Utilized existing information and monitoring points to the extent possible to minimize costs. Evaluated nature and extent of release areas and three-dimensional interaction of site groundwater with river system. Identified unique permit requirements associated with impacted soil and groundwater, wildlife, and proximity of site to two waterways. Evaluated potential for methane to collect beneath building structures and obtained required exemptions from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Developed, negotiated and oversaw implementation of the selected remedial action (hotspot removal, capping, pre- and post-construction groundwater monitoring, vapor mitigation). GIS registration will be completed at the conclusion of post-construction groundwater monitoring.

Wildlife Management

Obtained a Depredation permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (50CFR 21.41) to discourage sea gull nesting on site.

Funding Sources

Prepared application for and obtained a $1,250,000 Wisconsin Department of Commerce Blight Elimination and Brownfield Reduction (BEBR) Grant.

Demolition Planning

Prepared bid specifications, assisted with contractor selection, negotiated and managed contract, provided oversight for demolition, asbestos and/or lead paint abatement at more than ten buildings, performed air monitoring, and documented recycling efforts.

Site Development

Obtained exemptions from the WDNR to build on a landfill (NR506) and to excavate and reuse impacted soil near a navigable waterway, within a flood plain, and within one meter of the high groundwater level (NR 718). Assisted H-D in acquiring and managing free fill from the Marquette Interchange freeway project in order to raise the site to desired grades. Evaluated potential for naturally occurring methane to collect beneath building structures and obtained exemption from the WDNR. Evaluated construction and operation permit requirements for indirect air sources (NR 411). Negotiated and obtained Chapter 30 permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, WDNR, and the City Port Authority for dockwall replacement and emergency repair. Designed and installed methane abatement system beneath all buildings utilizing DBE subcontractor.


  • 2008 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Performance.
  • 2007 Wisconsin Business Friend of the Environment Award in recognition of innovative environmental stewardship efforts.