The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, home of the Bridgeport Bluefish (independent; Atlantic League), is slated to be redeveloped as a amphitheater under a proposal from developer Howard Saffan and concert promoter Live Nation.
Bridgeport is currently engaged in a one-year agreement with the Bluefish and put a future lease for the ballpark out to bid. Saffan says the city has chosen the proposal to turn the ballpark into a concert venue, hosting some 29 concerts annually, as well as other smaller events. At one point Mayor Joe Gamin, who oversaw the building of The Ballpark at Harbor Yard during an earlier stint as Bridgeport mayor, had proposed an $185-million development around the ballpark and adjacent Webster Bank Arena.
The Bluefish front office was notified of the plan and issued the following statement:
“We are proud of the 20-year run the Bridgeport Bluefish have had,” said Bluefish principal owner Frank Boulton. “While we are disappointed the City decided to turn the ballpark into a 29-date concert venue, we wish them the best of luck, and we hope that all Bluefish fans will come out to support their first-place team as they drive towards a championship.”
While Saffan says his amphitheater renovation plan is the chosen route for the city, it is not a done deal, per the CT Post:
Saffan said he and Live Nation will pay for $15 million worth of renovations to the ballpark, but added he does anticipate some sort of a public/private financial arrangement with the city.
Ultimately the City Council will need to approve the amphitheater deal, which comes as Ganim explores running for governor in 2018. The returned mayor wants splashy development news not just to grow the city’s tax base, but to impress Democratic primary voters.
The Bluefish have played at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard since its opening in 1998. It is adjacent to Webster Bank Arena, a venue that has seen some high-profile performers over the years, including Elton John and Bruce Springsteen. It also hosts the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.