In late July of 2022, the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater opened to a crowd of several thousand people eager to see bands REO Speedwagon and Styx perform their classic hits. This grand opening was more than eight years in the making — and even though they encountered many obstacles along the way, the developer, builder, and design team involved in this project hit it out of the park.
The Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater was previously home to the Bridgeport Bluefish minor league baseball team. Once the team moved to High Point, North Carolina, the city of Bridgeport was ready to convert the building into something new: a boutique amphitheater venue. The original stadium did not hold up well to challenging New England winters, so extensive renovations were necessary.
Developer Howard Saffan wanted to create an experience that goes above and beyond what a "traditional" concert venue might offer. By adding unique features, he achieved this goal.
One of the major improvements made was the use of stone and porcelain throughout the entire venue. For example, over 500 slabs of porcelain (more than 20,000 square feet) were used in the main bathrooms. A white marble-like porcelain called Calacatta Lincoln with wispy veins can be found throughout the women’s rooms, while Superwhite gray porcelain was selected to clad the men’s rooms. This allowed the developer to achieve an elegant marble look and feel while creating a space that would stand up to heavy foot traffic. Additional unique elements were incorporated, including an iconic twelve story tensile membrane roof and a one-of-a-kind 25,000 square foot back of house featuring custom granite and Caesarstone countertops and luxury glass and marble tile throughout.
Additional areas that were updated include the exterior wall of the venue. The once unsightly concrete wall was turned into something spectacular when the design team selected a natural stone wall covering that bends with the natural curve of the existing concrete wall. The former press box, now the "Harbor Club," is clad with a gray concrete-like porcelain tile with a rustic industrial vibe.
The developer also wanted to make the entertainer’s experience as special for them as it is for the guests coming to see the show. To do that, they created a top-shelf experience. Specifically, the headliner stays in a suite complete with a private chef and gourmet kitchen containing White Macaubas countertops, plus a luxurious bathroom that features Thassos marble and Walker Zanger decorative tile. In addition, they have a massage room, video game room, s’mores pit, outdoor fireplace, cafeteria, six separate suites, and a bathroom for each band member.
Ultimately, more than 500 slabs of beautiful porcelain stone were used at the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater — and it's safe to say that the initial plans were brought to fruition. The design team kept much of the charm of the original stadium but re-envisioned it to create a truly one-of-a-kind venue. Today, the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater is home to a number of local companies and vendors — and the facilities inside the building are truly stunning. Visitors frequently find themselves taking photos of the bathrooms because of how gorgeous the design and finishes are.
For the city of Bridgeport, the new Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater created many new jobs while reviving the area's spirit as a New England destination. Thanks to the hard work and persistence of developer Howard Saffan and his team, the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater will serve the community for many years to come.
Book an Appointment Today