Thursday, May 19, 2022

Bills announce $1.4 billion, open-air stadium in Orchard Park, set to be completed in 2026

The Buffalo Bills reached an agreement Monday with New York State and Erie County to build a new $1.4 billion state-of-the-art, open-air stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Under the 30-year lease, the public will provide $850 million to fund construction costs while the state of New York is expected to contribute $600 million and Erie County $250 million toward the project (per The Buffalo News). 

Groundbreaking for the stadium is set for Spring 2023 with it set to open in time for the 2026 season. The Bills will pay $350 million toward the stadium and will get a $200 million loan from the NFL through the league’s G-4 loan program. The stadium is estimated to hold around 62,000 fans. 

“We took another step today to solidify our collective goal of constructing a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park,” Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula said in a statement Monday. “We are grateful for the time, efforts, and unwavering commitment made by Governor Hochul and her team throughout this process. 

“While there are more hurdles to clear before getting to the finish line, we feel our public-private partnership between New York State, Eric County, led by county executive Mark Poloncarz, and the National Football league will get us there.”

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Hochul said she didn’t want Bills fans to worry about the future of the team, as Highmark Stadium has been the team’s home since 1973. While Highmark Stadium is the fourth-oldest stadium in the NFL, it has not undergone a major renovation like Soldier Field, Lambeau Field and Arrowhead Stadium — the three stadiums older than the Bills’ home — have done. 

The area in Orchard Park was selected over downtown Buffalo due to cheaper costs and faster construction. The Bills hired Populous — the Kansas City-based architecture firm — to design the stadium. While the stadium will hold 62,000, there will be a standing-room only section that will hold up to an estimated 5,000 people. Even with an open-air stadium, 80% of the stadium will have a roof or overhang to protect fans from bad weather — which is very common in Buffalo. 

The estimated cost to renovate Highmark Stadium was around $1 billion, and it would only last up to two decades. With a new stadium in place, the Bills can use the facility for 30 years and host numerous events at the facility. 

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