By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 14, 2018 at 10:36 AM

Using a competitive selection process, Summerfest has chosen Milwaukee's Eppstein Uhen Architects as the lead architectural firm to design a new American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

There is no timeline yet for groundbreaking or when the venue will open.

A new 23,000-seat amphitheater was announced in January 2017 as part of a decade-long sponsorship deal between Summerfest and American Family Insurance. At the time, its opening was said to be tentatively set for 2020.

Like all capital projects on the site, this one is subject to approval by the Board of Harbor Commissioners and the Milwaukee World Festival Inc. board of directors.

"The process was very competitive and all of the candidates provided excellent concepts and design ideas. In the end, it was EUA’s broader vision that lead us to our final decision," said Don Smiley, president & CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., in a statement issued Wednesday morning. "We are excited to move the process forward and build a new American Family Insurance Amphitheater for the next generation of music lovers, Summerfest and the City of Milwaukee."

According to the statement, "EUA assembled a talented team of architects and designers, along with a list of qualified national professionals who will assist in the areas of revenue generation, fan experience, sponsor activation, food service and operations.

"EUA will work closely with the MWF staff and partners to transform the Amphitheater into a world-class entertainment venue, while ensuring the design delivers on key amenities and features. In doing so, the team will design with patrons, performers, sponsors, operations and the bottom line, in mind."

The team will immediately begin the discovery phase of the new project and will start work on renderings of what the amphitheater will look like. A timeline will be forthcoming, according to Summerfest spokesperson Julie Dieckelman.

"We are honored to be selected as the lead design architect," said Greg Uhen, CEO of EUA. "As the flagship venue for Summerfest, the Amphitheater has played a huge role in shaping the Milwaukee music experience over its 31 year span; hosting some of the world’s best artists to sellout crowds.

"Production complexity and fan expectations have evolved, and I am personally excited to reimagine the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, exploring new possibilities to elevate the experience for decades to come. This is going to be fun."

EUA also worked with Summerfest on a new north gate design, currently under construction, and the new Miller Lite Oasis, which opened in time for Summerfest 2017.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.