From: Construction Drive, Authored by: Zachary Phillips March 29, 2022

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills will build a $1.4 billion stadium in Orchard Park, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. It will be the largest construction project in the region’s history, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The project will generate 10,000 union jobs and will operate under a project labor agreement, according to Monday’s announcement. Kansas City, Missouri-based architecture firm Populous will design the stadium and a general contractor has not yet been announced.

To finance the project, the Bills and the NFL will provide $550 million and Erie County will contribute $250 million. New York state is advancing a $600 million proposal in the state budget to cover the rest of the costs.

The public financing share for the Buffalo stadium is smaller than most previous NFL deals. When Highmark Stadium (pictured above) — the Bills current home field, the fourth oldest in the NFL — was built in 1973, it was 100% publicly financed. However, in recent years, franchises have contributed the funding to build their venues.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke footed the $5.6 billion bill for Inglewood, California’s, SoFi Stadium — the most expensive stadium ever built. Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas received $750 million in public funding, but the Raiders paid $1.1 billion of their own money to build it, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The 30-year agreement between the state and the Bills stipulates the stadium have a minimum of 60,000 seats. The team submitted plans to the city in August, the AP reported, for a stadium with those specifications to be built by 2027. Design work for the stadium will begin immediately, according to Hochul’s announcement, while the parties negotiate extending the team’s lease for Highmark, which expires in 2023.

The path to the new stadium has been long, with the Bills weighing several options, even within Buffalo.

In November, AECOM recommended the Bills construct a new stadium rather than renovate, in a report commissioned by Empire State Development. The new stadium would cost $1.4 billion if constructed in the same place as Highmark, AECOM found. Meanwhile, building in downtown Buffalo would be more disruptive and cost $2.1 billion or more.

Although most design plans have not been released, the AECOM report assumed that the new stadium will be open-air and have:

  • A capacity of at least 60,000 seats.
  • Approximately 60 private suites, each with 16 seats.
  • Approximately 60 lounge boxes, each with four to eight seats.
  • 5,000 to 6,000 club seats, with enclosed and conditioned club spaces to accommodate patrons.
  • Improved access to the playing surface for trucks and equipment.
  • Improved locker rooms and facilities.

If the $1.4 billion estimate proves accurate, the Bills new home will be the 11th most expensive venue in the world.

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