Tuesday, August 31, 2021. 1:54 PM
ORCHARD PARK, NY – The new US $ 1.4 billion stadium offered by the Buffalo Bills would have approximately 60,000 seats and 60 suites, the Associated Press has learned.
This Bills project has a construction schedule with a completion date set for no later than 2027 depending on how quickly a deal can be reached, one person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. having knowledge of documents presented to state and county officials, as the plan was not made public.
The team’s current lease expires in July 2023 and would be extended until the new facility opens, if the project is approved by New York State and Erie County.
The proposed capacity is about 12,000 seats less than the current Bills stadium, now called Highmark Stadium, which was built in 1973. The new site would not include a roof, but it would be designed so that the majority of seats are sheltered from inclement weather, the source said.
The team initially envisioned a larger stadium worth $ 1.6 billion before making the decision to downsize the project, the person continued.
Discussions between Bills parent company Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE) and government officials began in late May, with the parties hosting a tour of the Bills’ aging facilities last week.
The question is how quickly a deal can be approved and how the construction costs would be split between the team and the taxpayers. The Bills have previously said team owners Terry and Kim Pegula have pledged to share some of the costs, but haven’t said how much.
The state and county are expected to be asked to provide more than 50% of the project, raising concerns about the potential for taxpayer funding.
The PSE proposal is considered preliminary and subject to change based on discussions as no outline of the proposed facilities has yet been submitted. Talks have been slowed down in part because of New York’s change of governor, with Kathy Hochul taking over last week after Andrew Cuomo resigned.
Hochul is from Buffalo and has had contact with PSE officials before.
His office released a statement on Monday that said, “No one is more determined to keep the Bills in Buffalo than Governor Kathy Hochul, a longtime supporter of the team. Negotiations are underway and his administration looks forward to sharing the details with the public as soon as negotiations are completed ”.
The $ 1.6 billion cost of the stadium shared by the Giants and New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, which opened in 2010, was funded entirely by the private sector. The $ 1.1 billion Minnesota Vikings US Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016, saw taxpayers fund 45.2% of the cost.