Construction Advances For Concert Amphitheater

Howard Saffan, right, with Mayor Joe Ganim standing in what will serve as the front row in front of the stage under construction.

A 7,000-seat boutique amphitheater featuring restaurants and beer gardens, barbecue area, nearly two dozen suites with stone counter tops and customized paneling, VIP lounges, bathrooms with Italian marble, a stage 100 by 60 feet, enclosed by the signature tensile membrane roof is expected to open in the summer of 2020, according to developer Howard Saffan who has partnered with the city to transform the former Ballpark at Harbor Yard into a venue for concerts, festivals, community events and family shows. Mega concert promoter Live Nation will handle concert bookings.

amphitheater rendering
Rendering of amphitheater, right, featuring tensile roof adjacent to Webster Bank Arena.

Saffan on Thursday provided Mayor Joe Ganim and media members a tour of the facility under construction. Ganim, just days from the September 10 primary, is ramping up visibility of a development initiative completely under his watch.

Saffan says installation of the “iconic” roof, held in place by steel cables, is expected to begin in November, what he says will serve as a “breathtaking view” of the skyline for cars on I-95, as well as regular train passengers along the rail line. The roof will be 12 stories high. The only structure higher in the city is the headquarters for People’s United Bank.

Amphitheater stage under construction.

“Imagine what this place will look like all lit up at night,” said Saffan, former president of the Webster Bank Arena adjacent to the facility at the edge of Downtown and South End.

Little things mean a lot in planning out the facility including bathrooms that will be 3 to 1 for female patrons. Pulling your boat into a slip at the new marina at Steelpointe Harbor? Shuttle service will transport boaters to the concert destination.

Bridgeport Economic Development Director Tom Gill views stage area from suite view.

Two years ago following a request for proposals Ganim selected the amphitheater pitch over a renewed submission by the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team that played at Harbor Yard for 20 years. City officials say the ballpark needed upgrades comparable in price to what the concert venue will cost.

City officials stressed that the amphitheater proposal brings a stronger economic impact to the city in terms of jobs, payments to the city and overflow to local vendors and restaurants. The contract guarantees the city $150,000 annually in rent, but with a projected take on ticket sales estimated at roughly $450,000.

To streamline the parking process Saffan says each ticket sold will include parking access so that no separate payment is required.

Saffan added the facility will serve as something more than a concert venue. “It will be a destination.”

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8 comments

  1. Got to love election time…. On Tuesday I will cast my vote for Moore and I’ve never been so happy to vote like this since 2008 when i cast my first vote ever for obama.

  2. Second tallest structure after People’s Bank? What about 10 Middle Street, the former SCG Building, Barnum House on Fairfield Ave, any of the power plants, the Remington shot tower, etc? These are all taller than 12 stories.

    Speaking of trying to look tall, does anyone notice Ganim trying to make himself appear taller in the first photo by standing on the pile of concrete?

  3. Lake Forest Guy,
    Good observation!! And I compare the pose to that on City Hall plaza of Lewis Latimer, African American inventor/technologist who worked with Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. He delivered the means to make light better for all within his ken.
    Compare that to Ganim’s pose today caught with hands in his pockets. His visions are words that do not fill the space in an accountable timely manner. His visions caused past opportunities to enrich himself while the empty visions were his legacy to citizens of Bridgeport.
    Too late to change his nature or the way he presents himself. Or to apologize for failing to sincerely thank the people of Bridgeport for his “second chance” which has produced so little for taxpayers, the students in public schools, and for inclusive citizen participation and service on boards and commissions. Will there be a cement statue of Ganim at a City Hall in Bridgeport anyday soon? Time will tell.

  4. Joe Ganim: Hey Howard. Listen, I need to make it look like I am moving Bridgeport forward. The election
    is next Tuesday.

    Howard Saffan: Election day is in November. What’s the hurry?

    JG: This is Bridgeport. The Democrat party primary is the election.

    HS: Okay, I will see what I can do. Round-up some of your nit-wit city council people to serves as props
    in photos.

    JG: Oh, Howard. Can you add a seven-teen story flag pole so I can say it is the second tallest structure in
    Bridgeport?

    HS: That will add to the cost of the project.

    JG: That’s ok. Aren’t I getting $1.00 for every foot in height of the facility?

    1. Jeff,

      Everyone is forgetting that Mayor Joseph P. Ganim is a convicted felon and disgraced attorney that will stoop to subterranean depths to secure the Democratic nomination.

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