Corporate support for new Bridgeport amphitheater strong

BRIDGEPORT - The centerpiece of what Bridgeport officials are billing as a new entertainment district could be in place in time for next summer.

Thursday, the groundbreaking for what's being billed as a boutique amphitheater.

The 6,000 seat Harbor Yard Amphitheater, to be built to replace the former Ballpark at Harbor Yard, needs to be iconic, according to the developer.

"This should be part of the renaissance of Bridgeport," said Howard Saffan, the developer.

"This is huge. It’s part of one element of $1 billion worth of new investments happening in Bridgeport," said Mayor Joseph Ganim.

Soon, there will be no more tall grass. Instead, from I-95, you’ll see an extremely tall roof. The height of the tensile roof is expected to reach 120 feet, which is  taller than the arena and almost as tall as the People’s Bank, said Saffan.

The construction, which is due to begin in earnest next week, is expected to last between 12 and 15 months.

"The economic impact for Bridgeport is over $51 million a year," said Saffan. "So, you’re looking at over 25 concerts per season. You’re looking at over 75 events."

In fact, he said, at least three popular musical acts have already reached out inquiring about performing in the amphitheater.

"Already, today, we have a commitment for 18 of the 22 suites in the venue," said Saffan.

Fairfield native John Mayer, who’s received rave reviews in performing with Dead & Company, would be a natural target to be the venue’s first performer.

"I was going to speak to John Mayer about it, when we had the Dead & Company up in Hartford a few weeks ago. But, I decided not to, because I don’t know when it’s opening," said Jim Koplik, Regional President, for Live Nation.