Phase one of the $50 million American Family Insurance Amphitheater redevelopment project at the Summerfest grounds is 90 percent complete, Milwaukee World Festival Inc. officials said Monday.
The project has involved raising a portion of the venue’s roof by 26 feet, rebuilding the backstage area to include new artist amenities, production offices, dressing rooms and additional loading docks, and adding a removable stage and flat floor seating in front of the stage and two LED walls on either side of the stage. Work is on schedule to be completed in time for this year’s Summerfest, which runs from June 26-30 and July 2-7.
The second phase of the project will begin immediately after Summerfest, with the grand opening of the new amphitheater scheduled for 2020. That project will include building new concourses and seats, additional hospitality areas, a new seating bowl and more food and beverage operations.
“It will feel like a new building,” said Sarah Smith Pancheri, vice president of sales and marketing for Milwaukee World Festival Inc., of the project after phase two is completed. “There will be new seats, new concourses, new restrooms, the exceptional height of that roof that will definitely feel different; it will feel like a brand new venue.”
To celebrate the construction milestone, Cousins Subs provided free lunch to about 115 members of the construction crew on Monday. Cousins served up the new Piggy Mac Sub, which features pulled pork, bacon, onion, Wisconsin smoked gouda and Wisconsin mac & cheese on Italian bread, and will only be available on the festival grounds during the 11 days of Summerfest.
The amphitheater project is led by Brookfield-based construction manager Hunzinger Construction. Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects is the lead architectural firm designing the new amphitheater. Houston-based ALE HeavyLift completed the roof lift.