Updated: August 02, 2021 07:27 PM
Created: August 01, 2021 11:58 AM
ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — The owners of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres are asking for public funding to build a brand new NFL stadium and help cover the cost of new renovations to the NHL Sabres arena in downtown Buffalo.
According to The Buffalo News, preliminary talks have started between the owners of the Buffalo Bills, the State of New York, and Erie County officials regarding a $1.5 billion proposal for a new stadium located in Orchard Park and renovations to KeyBank Center.
Pegula Sports and Entertainment wants to build the new stadium adjacent to the team's existing facility for $1.1 billion, with the remaining funds to be left for the renovations of KeyBank Center.
The public would fund this project 100%, according to multiple sources who spoke to The Buffalo News.
Local fans weighed in on the issue.
"Long overdue, I mean it's an old stadium, it's been there for a long time. Something new is good. It's good for the outside, everywhere around it. It's gonna be good for businesses, everything. All for it,” said local Bills fan Tom Hogan.
"My thinking is this is going to create a lot of jobs, construction jobs, all sorts of business opportunities, that type of thing so... ultimately it's a good investment in the state," said local Bills fan Frank Wenzel.
"It would change it, the culture, a lot, if they move it. Probably because no tailgating, they'll take that away, and other things that you know that we go there for... to tailgate and be around friends and that atmosphere is... you can't change that," said 34-year season ticket holder and “Bills Brother” Robin Brooks.
Per the report, the team has made no threats to leave Buffalo if it doesn’t get the full funding, however, it has been made clear to government negotiators that there are "other cities elsewhere that desire an NFL franchise and would pay handsomely for it.”
Monday Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said as of Monday, the proposal on the table is for a new stadium in Orchard Park, not downtown Buffalo.
Hochul said the state is having preliminary discussions with Pegula Sports and Entertainment as of Monday and its proposal includes demolishing the existing facility and building a new one across the street.
"We are committed to keeping the Buffalo Bills in the city of Buffalo," Hochul said. "Stop. Period. That's it we are committed. And we are in negotiations and conversations right now and we're learning the full scale of what they're proposing. This is a conversation that will be ongoing."
Hochul said the needs of taxpayers are part of the discussion, but this is time-sensitive.
The Bills' lease of the stadium is up from Erie County in 2023.
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