ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Empire State Development Board of Directors and the Erie County Stadium Corporation have approved the renovation plans for Ralph Wilson Stadium and lease extension with the Buffalo Bills, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The approvals are a signal of another step toward finalizing the terms of the deal into a formal 10-year lease, according to the governor's office. "The State remains committed to keeping the Bills in Buffalo," Governor Cuomo said. "The approvals by the Erie County Stadium Corporation and Empire State Development mark further progress in finalizing the agreement that we reached last year, so that this iconic team stays in the community – a victory for fans and the Western New York economy."
Adoption of the General Project Plan was the first step in the legal process for approving the new lease. The deal is expected to close as planned in late March, after additional approvals from the ECSC, ESD, Erie County and the NFL owners.
The state's share of the renovation work is included in Cuomo's 2013-14 budget, which needs approval from the State Legislature.
In December, Cuomo announced a Memorandum of Understanding that set forth the basic terms of an agreement to keep the Bills in Buffalo. The MOU includes a commitment from the Bills stay in Buffalo for at least the next seven years and $130 million in upgrades to the stadium.
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