BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – While they didn’t say where it should go, a group of consultants for New York State said this week building a brand new stadium for the Buffalo Bills makes more sense than renovating their current one.
It’s simply a numbers game, according to their report.
“In general, when the cost of renovation exceeds approximately 60 percent of the cost to replace with
a new facility, assuming comparable building program, scope, size, operational capabilities, etc. the
project reaches a tipping point where new construction is the generally recommended approach,” the consultants from AECOM wrote.
A renovation of Highmark Stadium, the consultants say, would cost $862 million. That’s about 63% of the estimated cost of a new facility in Orchard Park, pegged by AECOM at $1.354 billion. A new stadium in Downtown Buffalo could cost up to $2.1 billion, according to the report.
Renovation would have to address several factors, including size of the main concourse, field level access, deterioration of the upper deck, and outdated food service and catering facilities, the consultants say.
A spokesperson for Pegula Sports and Entertainment had no comment on the state’s study.
On Wednesday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also said “it probably does not make sense” to renovate when a new stadium could last more than double the life of a costly renovated stadium, meaning all three parties in stadium negotiations appear to be on the same page.
“(The AECOM report) does provide a road map on the decisions that we are going to make having some good analysis with regards to fixed-cost for a new stadium,” Poloncarz said.
New York State also asked AECOM to estimate the cost of constructing a stadium with a roof. The consultants said building a roof-ready stadium would cost $109 million extra, while building a stadium with a roof on it would cost $298 million extra.
Under the Bills proposal, the team and public would share the cost of building a new stadium, although it is still unknown what the breakdown would be.
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.