Eppstein Uhen selected to design Summerfest grounds south end makeover

Milwaukee World Festival Inc. officials have selected Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects to do the design work for the planned redevelopment of 22 acres on the south end of the Henry Maier Festival Park.
The project will completely rebuild the area of the Summerfest grounds between the Harley-Davidson stage and the Marcus Amphitheater. The project will include the redevelopment of the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage and the M&I Classic Rock stage area. The scope of the project will not include renovating the Marcus Amphitheater.
“We appreciate the innovative ideas that came forth in this process and are excited to be moving forward with Eppstein Uhen,” said Don Smiley, president and chief executive officer of Milwaukee World Festival Inc. “We believe they will help us accomplish our goals of redesigning and renovating this area to create a world-class environment that will be relevant for future generations.”
“We’re thrilled to be selected as the architect because Summerfest and the ethnic Festivals are such a vital part of our community and our culture,” said Greg Uhen,  president of Eppstein Uhen Architects. “To be able to play a role in transforming the south end experience is very special to us.”
City officials in December approved a 10-year lease extension to Milwaukee World Festival Inc. for use of the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park, the home of Summerfest and several ethnic festivals, on Milwaukee’s lakefront through 2030.
The specific plans and costs are yet to be determined. Milwaukee World Festival’s new lease with the city requires it to spend at least $10 million on the project, said John Boler, vice president of sales and marketing for Milwaukee World Festival. However, the actual cost of the project could exceed $20 million and will be one if the biggest, if not the very biggest, capital improvement project done to Maier Festival Park, he said.
Some of the goals of the redevelopment of the south end of the grounds will include a redesigned traffic flow, new food and beverage buildings, stage improvements and an enhanced festival-goer experience with Lake Michigan, Boler said.
The project is expected to be completed in 2015 and will be done in phases over several years.

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