SBD/October 24, 2012/Facilities

NFL, Bills Not Showing Interest In Proposed Retractable-Roof Stadium In Buffalo

Plan developers say the stadium would be used for much more than football
The NFL yesterday questioned a plan from the Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex LLC for a new outer harbor stadium in Buffalo, as the proposal "landed with a thud in front of several key lawmakers, the Buffalo Bills and the county executive," according to a front-page piece by Terreri & Sommer of the BUFFALO NEWS. The developers -- who "want to build a 72,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium that would double as a convention center -- assert that getting an option on waterfront property from the city and working with Dallas-based HKS, the foremost football stadium builder, would gain the NFL’s endorsement and ensure that the Bills stay in Buffalo, even without the team’s participation in the project." But NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that it "doesn’t work that way." He said, “We haven’t considered a proposal without club support." Terreri & Sommer note the Bills have "shown no interest in the proposed stadium, nor have they been approached." A Bills spokesperson said that the team is "focused on continuing talks with county and state officials to renovate Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park and extend its lease." GBSEC partners Nicholas Stracick and George Hasiotis said that the "mixed-use project will cost a total of $1.4 billion." They said that a "public-private partnership would be necessary, with the state kicking in about $400 million" (BUFFALO NEWS, 10/24).

OPPORTUNITY FOR MORE THAN FOOTBALL: In Rochester, Meaghan McDermott notes the developers said that the proposed stadium project "could create as many as 10,000 construction jobs, invigorate the western New York economy and almost guarantee a Super Bowl game within two or three years after the project’s completion." Among the "planned amenities that would make the site a year-round attraction is a North American Museum of Sports and Culture." Hasiotis said, “It is not fair to characterize this only as a football stadium. It would not only be used 8 or 10 times a year. It would be used daily, day in and day out” (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 10/24).

BORDER CROSSING: In Toronto, Mike Zeisberger notes Buffalo developer Rocco Termini has the idea that a "permanent NFL facility for the Bills could one day sprout up" in Hamilton, Ontario. Termini "claimed the Buffalo area will lose the Bills within 10 years because western New York does not have enough corporate headquarters to afford buying all the private suites and luxury boxes that has become a staple revenue source of the NFL." By specifically identifying Hamilton "as a viable alternative for a new venue, Termini feels such a location would elicit corporate financial support from the thriving business community in the Greater Toronto Area." There "do not appear to be any blue prints from Termini," nor does there "seem to be anything on paper." Instead, he said that he "was just 'floating' the idea" (TORONTO SUN, 10/24).
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