Call it ambitious or even edgy, but one thing remains: things are about to change for the better in Bridgeport. Come 2019, the city will be home to the Harbor Yard Amphitheater.
Plans for Bridgeport’s newest attraction went public today in a press conference. Mayor Joe Ganim, joined by Howard Saffan, principal of Harbor Yard Amphitheater, and Live Nation Connecticut and Upstate New York president Jim Koplik, unveiled the official design.
As expected, there were plenty of oohs and ahhs. And clapping. Lots and lots of clapping.
All in all, the venue will look attractive, functional, and exciting. So, those worried about a garish display shouldn’t worry. In fact, the new attraction will sport a state-of-the-art roof!
Also, those sad to see the Bluefish stadium go should know that it won’t fully disappear. In fact, plans are to simply renovate the ballpark. The stage will sit upon the former center field. So, count it as a major upgrade.
Groundbreaking is set to begin in the next two to three months. City officials expect an opening in spring 2019.
Also, the city wanted to go big and bold for their new attraction. That’s why they hired one of the top architects to design it.
They partnered with FTL Design Engineering Studio, a company behind some of the most ambitious amphitheaters in the nation.
Their portfolio includes the Sun Valley Pavilion in Idaho and the United Nations Porte Cochere in NYC. Another example of their work is the Pier Six Music Pavilion in Baltimore.
They deliberately designed the venue to win awards, too. One of the highest national honors comes from Billboard’s Touring Awards.
Last year, they named LA’s Hollywood Bowl as Best Amphitheater.
Saffan, Koplik, and architect Joseph Mingolello expressed confidence the structure will win that exact award. Based on design alone, they should. The team simply thought of everything.
The Harbor Yard theater will include 5,500 seats, 21 luxury suites, 3 VIP lounges, and an outdoor BBQ area. Basically, they wanted to build an entertainment paradise that overlooks the water.
Most importantly of all, the venue includes all the necessary staging elements to accommodate a massive production. Mayor Ganim specifically referenced Cirque de Soliel as an example of one of those big shows.
However, Koplik said the venue will focus on drawing big name entertainers. He pledged a minimum of 20 major acts per year.
As for who Koplik wants to perform the venue’s first show? John Mayer, obviously, who was born and raised in the city.
The venue anticipates hosting 50 to 75 events annually. Also, it’ll only be open between the spring and fall.
As for what kind of shows you’ll start seeing in Bridgeport? Honestly, it’s anything. Besides concerts, the venue will also book festivals, community events, family shows, along with private and public functions.
Overall, officials expect that the amphitheater will draw 250,000 people a year. The volume of spectators will greatly benefit the city.
The venue will generate a minimum rent of $150,000 a year. Or, more simply: will generate $3 for the city per ticket sold. The average ticket price looks to be $65 per concert.
With the venue situated right next to 95 and the train station, accessibility isn’t an issue. In fact, the location will make it one of the most accessible attractions in the state.
As for how city residents reacted to the news? Mayor Ganim says they’re excited! People ask him every day when the amphitheater will open.
The major focus is on all the new jobs and commerce it’ll bring. Officials also believe the venue will attract new restaurants and shops to the area.
The developer also promised to support area businesses and act as a good neighbor.
All in all, this will greatly benefit the local economy. Not only that, the city’s image as a whole.
So, count this as an exciting new chapter in Bridgeport’s history. From ticket sales to the publicity, the city can’t lose.
Are you excited to see a concert in Bridgeport? Who would you like to see perform there?