A retractable-roof stadium seating 72,000 that can double as a convention center, plus a sports museum, hotel, retail and parking for 5,000 cars. All for $1.4 billion. That is the plan being floated by 'Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex' as a new home for the Buffalo Bills on 167-acres of outer harbor land owned by the NFTA. The Common Council will get a peak at the plans later today.
Company President Nicholas J. Stracick and Vice President George F. Hasiotis acknowledged to The Buffalo News that they have yet to line up political support, or reach out to the Bills, for a project that touches two areas - the team and development of the outer harbor - and has produced its share of cynicism. They are banking on the City of Buffalo and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo allowing them an option on a 167-acre site so they can convince the National Football League that a stunning facility is ready to be built in Buffalo.
There are many hurdles to clear:
The company calls for a "detailed feasibility study" and acknowledges the necessity of an environmental-impact assessment.
Stracick and Hasiosis, who have not attempted to measure what the public wants on the outer harbor, envision surface and covered parking for 5,000, as well as a hotel and retail and dining establishments. Neither of them said that transportation to the outer harbor for tens of thousands of people would pose a problem. It would be no worse than traffic getting in and out of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, they said.
A new stadium could also be configured into a 20,000-seat venue for concerts, sports and other events, they said, dismissing the notion that the venue would be in direct competition with First Niagara Center.
"It's a complement, not a competitor. It capitalizes on the synergy of all the sports and cultural activities in the area," Stracick said.
As for financing:
Hasiotis said that it was premature to talk about financing a stadium but that based on other stadium projects across the country, it was reasonable to expect the State of New York to pay about $400 million, the NFL $200 million to $400 million. Such a project would bring in hundreds of millions for the construction trades, since 10,000 such jobs were expected to be generated, he said.
Rendering from The Buffalo News