SBJ/August 29-September 4, 2011/Facilities

Packers plan 6,600 more seats, rooftop views

The Green Bay Packers will add about 6,600 seats and a rooftop viewing platform to Lambeau Field as part of a $143 million expansion project.

The Packers will add the seats in the south end zone of Lambeau Field and the rooftop viewing platform in the north end zone, along with new entry gates in both end zones. The team will fund the entire cost of the project, which will start this week and be completed by the start of the 2013 season.

GREEN BAY PACKERS
Additional gates for the end zone projects will ease congestion at other stadium entries.
“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 game-day crowd noise focused on our opponents,” said Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. “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.”

According to the plans, the new seats in the south end zone 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.

The north end zone will include a new stadium gate, along with six elevators, that will enable club-seat and suite holders to enter and exit the stadium. The project will include construction of a rooftop viewing terrace for use by club-seat holders on game days and that 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, Murphy said.

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 Lambeau Field redevelopment. Additional funding options from the NFL will be explored.

The ticket-pricing structure for the new seating area is still being established. Seats will be made available initially to current season-ticket holders, with priority given to those who have held tickets the longest.

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.

Previously, the team announced a 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 $12 million, is being funded jointly by the Packers and the stadium district, through team funding as well as the district’s capital improvement fund.

Elkus Manfredi, a Boston architect, is designing the expansion. Its expertise with retail and entertainment destinations, such as California’s Downtown Disney and The Grove developments, attracted the firm to the Packers, said Jason Wied, the team’s vice president of administration and general counsel.

General contractor for the stadium expansion is Miron Construction of Neenah, Wis., a subcontractor for Lambeau Field’s $295 million renovation completed in 2003. Hammes Co. of Madison, Wis., is back as program manager, the same role it performed during the previous renovation.

Mark Kass writes for The Business Journal in Milwaukee, an affiliated publication. Staff writer Don Muret contributed to this report.

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