For better or worse, it appears as though a downtown football stadium is unlikely. With a lease expiring in 2023 on a stadium that will be fifty years old, owners Terry and Kim Pegula have been working with consultants to explore additional renovations at Highmark Stadium or building a new stadium in Orchard Park or on several potential sites on the fringes of downtown. As first reported in VenuesNow, the Bills “favor a new stadium over a more extensive makeover of Highmark Stadium.”
Follow-up reports say the new stadium is “likely” to be located in Orchard Park and would be open air with partial covering for fans. Constructing a new stadium next to the existing one would be the cheapest of the new stadium options. The new facility, expected to cost north of $1 billion (or $2 billion according to the Democrat and Chronicle), would not be ready until after 2025 and would likely require significant state funding. If the Bills cannot get a lease extension from Erie County on the existing stadium, the Bills are said to be looking at Toronto venues and Penn State as temporary homes while a new stadium is built.
Nothing is official from the Bills. In late-May, the organization announced it has begun discussing the results of its stadium and arena study with local officials:
In 2015, three sites were said to be considered for a downtown stadium including the surface parking lots in the Cobblestone District east of Mississippi Street that would require a domed facility, a site along South Park and Ohio streets, and a location at Seneca and Michigan where the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum is located.