Lambeau Field expansion; more seats.
The Green Bay Packers today announced expansion plans for Lambeau Field, a project that will include approximately 6,600 new seats in the south end zone and a new gate and rooftop viewing platform in the north end zone.
The project, with a projected cost of approximately $130 million, will get underway with a Sept. 1 groundbreaking, and be complete for the 2013 season. The Packers will fund the project, with no involvement of public tax money, including general and sales taxes.
“We’re excited to begin work on the expansion of Lambeau Field,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “This project will benefit the Packers and our fans through two new gates for better stadium entry and exit, additional seats and updated amenities, as well as more gameday crowd noise focused on our opponents. It also will benefit our community, initially through construction jobs, but also in the long term through the increased economic impact of additional fans coming to Packers games each year.”
In the south end zone, the new seats, all with seatbacks, will be added in four levels. General seating will be featured, in addition to themed areas with some indoor concession environments. A new south gate will include four elevators and escalators to efficiently move fans in and out of the stadium.
The north end zone will include a new stadium gate, with six elevators, that will enable club-seat and suite holders to enter and exit the stadium more efficiently and provide an additional ADA entrance and exit point. The project will include construction of a rooftop viewing terrace for use by club-seat holders on gameday, and will be available for special events on other days. Both new gates will lessen the traffic at other gates throughout Lambeau Field and improve the stadium’s overall entrance and exit patterns.
The Packers are arranging to finance all the costs of the expansion, with funding components to include traditional borrowing. A stock sale is being considered, and the team will seek NFL approval for what would be the fifth such offering. With regard to a user fee, the team anticipates a program similar to what was used for the Lambeau Field redevelopment (1999-2003). Additional funding options from the NFL will be explored.
The ticket-pricing structure for the new seating area s is still being established, with the price for seats expected to range between current bowl seat (top price $87) and current club-seat prices (top price $313). A Green and Gold package will be used for most of the new seats, similar to current stadium bowl seats. Some seats will be considered premium and be sold as a 10-game package. Final details of seating sections, including pricing and amenities offered, are expected to be announced after the 2011 season.
Seats will be made available initially to current season-ticket holders, with priority given to those who have held tickets the longest. The number of new seats available will be equal to the number currently held. Those opting for new seats will relinquish their current seats. After that process, members of the waiting list will be approached to purchase any seats remaining in the new sections or seats that have become available in the stadium bowl.
Miron Construction, of Neenah, Wis., has been selected as the general contractor for the project. The company served as the major subcontractor on the Lambeau Field redevelopment project and has thorough experience with the Packers. Hammes Company Sports Development Inc., of Madison, Wis., will serve as project manager and Elkus Manfredi is the project’s design architect.
As an economic impact and benefit to the community, the project is expected to employ approximately 1,600 workers over the next two years and provide more than $70 million in wages. Long term, the additional 6,600 seats will potentially generate approximately $11 million annually in new spending impacts in Brown County from non-residents, according to a study by AECOM released in September 2010 by the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District that projected the impact of additional seating at the stadium.
Previously, the team announced the plan to install new Mitsubishi Diamond Vision video boards, with the new boards to be ready for the 2012 season. This project, with a cost of approximately $12 million, is being funding jointly by the Packers and the Stadium District, through team funding as well as the district’s capital improvement fund consisting of user-fee money. The two parties also funded the new distributed audio system which debuted at Packers Family Night, Aug. 6.
All told, the projects represent more than $143 million of Lambeau Field enhancements and improvements, all funded without public tax money.