ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hammer’s Lot is a well-known tailgating location for Bills Mafia. The stadium maps released last week show it will remain intact, but the lot’s owner still has concerns about how the project could affect his business and residents in the area.
“I know when they built the field house we had 24-hour noise going all summer long and it was loud,” Eric Matwijow, Hammer’s Lot owner, said.
Bills Stadium construction is set to start in April 2023. On Friday, Erie County released new documents outlining where the new stadium will be. The property line for the stadium complex would extend all the way to the Orchard Park-Hamburg town-line, which bisects the Erie Community College campus. About 56 of the 242 acres to be taken over by the state, which will own the new facility, cover open space and parking spots around the ECC campus.
Matwijow lives across the street from the new stadium site and owns the adjacent parking lot. He says crews have been surveying and putting stakes around the new property.
“Except nobody ever said there was going to be an axillary outbuilding and they really didn’t test where that map showed where the building was going to be,” Matwijo explained.
The auxiliary building, representing by the letter “F” in the second image below, could be located directly behind Hammer’s Lot. Matwijow is not concerned about losing his property or how close the stadium land will be to his lot, but he is worried about snow piling up.
“With this area being so wide open, the snow is going to hit that building, go over it and then it is going to drop. Now, will it drop on my property and make it more expensive to run or make it unusable?” Matwijow questioned.
Hammer’s Lot has been home to many memorable Bills Mafia tailgating moments. Matwijow says the fans will still have a home in his lot and the party will continue.
As the official site plans are drafted, Matwijow is looking forward to working with the team and state to make sure residents’ concerns are heard.
“There’s always things to be worked out — just don’t forget we have the neighbors here, and look out for us too,” Matwijow concluded.
An open scoping meeting has been scheduled for July 14 at the Bills fieldhouse. An additional public hearing is expected to take place in September.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.