SBD/February 7, 2013/Facilities

Buffalo Community Leaders Think Waterfront Stadium Proposal Is "Too Good To Be True"

Buffalo community leaders are skeptical about the proposed Bills stadium project
There are many community leaders who think that the Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex' $1.4B proposal for "a 72,000-seat stadium, with a retractable roof, a convention center and a sports and culture museum" on the city's outer harbor "is too good to be true, especially since project leaders are asking for a public commitment of waterfront land," according to a front-page piece by Denise Jewell Gee of the BUFFALO NEWS. GBSEC Partners Nicholas Stracick and George Hasiotis said that the "key to moving forward is obtaining an option for up to a year on 167 acres of publicly owned land on the outer harbor." Hasiotis said that the land option "would be limited, to nine to 12 months, enough to study traffic, parking, environmental and other impacts." He told Erie County legislators last month that if the group "obtains an option on the land, the project would become 'more bankable and more fundable.'" Gee noted close to "a dozen local community leaders were asked to weigh in on the project, and skepticism emerged as the overwhelming consensus." Some called the proposal "unrealistic and a pipe dream." Community leaders expressed "several fundamental concerns and objections" about the plan, including the fact that there has been "no disclosure of financial commitments." The proposal also lacks "support from either the Bills or the NFL." In addition, there are "major transportation and parking headaches" and questions of whether a football stadium "is the best use of the waterfront." Former Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Chair Jordan Levy said, "It’s unrealistic to think that anybody who’s not a multibillionaire is going to be able to pull this off." Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo said, "I’d love to see something like this happen, I just don’t know if these are the people to put this together" (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/6).
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