BUFFALO, N.Y. — The cost of the Bills’ proposed new stadium is $1.4 billion, and is to be built across the street from their existing facility in suburban Buffalo, a person with direct knowledge of discussions told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to The AP Thursday on the condition of anonymity because the details of the proposal haven’t been made public.
The Bills’ proposal has been presented to New York state and Erie County officials as part of discussions, which began two months ago, to determine the future of the NFL team’s home. The Bills are proposing a new facility to replace the newly renamed Highmark Stadium, which opened in 1973.
Locally, the Bears have floated the idea of leaving Soldier Field and building a new stadium in Arlington Heights.
Talks are happening as the Bills’ lease expires in July 2023, and after the state and county committed $227 million toward extensive renovations and annual capital and game-day expenses in 2013.
Further structural repairs and modern-day upgrades are necessary, all of which in 2014 were estimated to cost $540 million and involve renovating the entire third deck of the stadium. That cost is projected to be much higher in today’s dollars.
“Renovation is simply not an option,” the person said.
The proposed new stadium would be built on a Bills-controlled parking lot located directly across the street from their facility. This would allow the team to continue playing home games in Orchard Park, New York, until the new stadium is completed.
Up for discussion is how much state and local taxpayer money would have to be committed to construction.
Last week, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz warned that the state and county won’t be writing what he called “a blank check.”
“We will get a deal done,” Poloncarz said. “It’s just got to be a fair deal for all.”
The Bills are owned by Terry and Kim Pegula, who purchased the team for a then NFL-record $1.4 billion from the estate of late Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson in 2014. The Pegulas also own the NHL Sabres.
New York state will now be represented in discussions by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is from Buffalo. Hochul is replacing Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced Tuesday that he would resign rather than face a likely impeachment trial after Attorney General Letitia James released a report concluding he sexually harassed 11 women and describing a toxic work environment in his administration.