ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — For nearly 50 years, the Buffalo Bills have called its current stadium home.
But that stadium is in need of significant repairs according to a recent independent study by Buffalo engineering firm DiDonato Associates.
“It would cost 500 million [dollars] to replace the upper deck. It would cost a lot of money to replace the electrical systems and the water systems, which are many decades now out of date,” said Pegula Sports & Entertainment spokesperson Jim Wilkinson. “It would be about a billion dollars to renovate the stadium – and not only is that unrealistic and not wise, it’s just not going to happen.”
Wilkinson said although the organization wants to leave Highmark Stadium, they don’t want to leave Orchard Park – specifically looking to build the new stadium right across the street.
“It works great, it’s right there,” he said. “The training facility is right there. The Pegulas built a fantastic training facility and so it seems to work best there.”
The new stadium would cost $1.4 billion dollars, and Wilkinson said the Pegulas plan to pay for some while the taxpayers cover the rest in a public-private partnership.
Wilkinson said it’s too early to discuss what the new stadium would look like, but told News 4 “if the stadium is in Buffalo, it would need to reflect what Bills fans have come to know and love.”
At this point, he said the organization has presented its plan, which leaves it in the hands of Erie County and New York State.
“The Pegulas have made a proposal. They would like to build it right there [in Orchard Park] and we need to hear back,” Wilkinson said. “You can’t really do plans and designs on things until you have a deal, and right now the City of Buffalo and the State are going to have to decide if they want a team.”
In a statement, incoming Governor Kathy Hochul said she plans to work with State Legislators in order to come to an agreement smart for the taxpayers while also ensuring the “longevity of the Buffalo Bills.”
News 4 has also reached out to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz for comment, but the county did not have a comment at this time.