Taxpayers will put up $850 million for new Bills stadium
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP/WHEC) – State and county taxpayers will be asked to commit $850 million in public funds toward construction of the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium, which has a state-projected price tag of $1.35 billion, according to a news release from Governor Kathy Hochul Monday.
The dollar amount is considered to be the largest public commitment for an NFL facility, with the Bills and the league picking up the rest of cost.
Governor Hochul says the state will look to add $600 million in the state budget. Erie County would contribute another $250 million.
The details were revealed as NFL owners voted on the proposal during their meetings in Florida, granting the Bills what’s called a $200 million G4 loan to go toward construction costs.
Under the G4 program rules, Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula would be required to at least match the loan.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul faced a deadline to have an agreement in place in time to include the state’s share of funding in her budget, which by law must be approved on April 1.
The NFL’s $200 million contribution was already factored in as part of the funding package for the proposed 60,000-plus seat facility to be built across the street from the Bills current stadium in Orchard Park.
Erie County is also a lease holder and must also approve the proposal.
The $850 million of taxpayer commitment would represent about 63% of the projected cost of construction. Though high, it is lower than the 73% the state and county have historically committed to the team for construction and capital costs since the Bills were established in 1960.
Major terms of the agreement. I want to thank both @GovKathyHochul , @PegulaSE and everyone who has been involved in getting this done. We all know what the @BuffaloBills mean to this community. We have a strong non-relocation agreement, keeping the Bills here in WNY was key. pic.twitter.com/pfxTGdDGsW— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) March 28, 2022
Poloncarz says the construction project will create 10,000 jobs with union labor.
The Bills are seeking to replace their existing facility which opened in 1973 and was deemed too expensive to renovate. A state study in November pegged renovation costs at $862 million.
If approved, the Bills project the new facility could be built in time for the start of the 2026 season. The Bills’ existing lease with the state and county runs through July 2023. As part of the agreement, the Bills will design and build a stadium with a minimum of 60,000 seats and commit to playing there for the next 30 years.
A statement from Terry and Kim Pegula on the new Bills stadium project. pic.twitter.com/eOy970NM7T— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) March 28, 2022