(WIVB) – There appears to be very little doubt now that a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills will not be built near downtown Buffalo, but instead on Abbot Road across the Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.
During a Monday morning speech in Wyoming County, Gov. Kathy Hochul touched on the proposed new Bills stadium. Taking a question from a reporter, Gov. Hochul said that the state will support the team’s choice of Orchard Park as a location for the new stadium.
“We’ve had conversations, I’ve made it clear to the Bills organization that we wanted to accommodate both options and let them see the cost of both,” Hochul said. “If their choice is Orchard Park, it’s Orchard Park.”
The cost for a new stadium in Orchard Park is about $1.4 billion, according to an Empire State Development report that came out last month.
The state is expected to fund a large piece of the project.
Hochul said Monday that the Bills organization and the state could work out a location and a plan to pay for it by the end of the year – otherwise, they have until the end of March, since it will fall under the state’s budget.
“I’ve also offered two timelines to them, whatever works best for them,” said Hochul, who is a self-described Bills fan. “I could get this done by the end of this year. I can get this done. We can work out the numbers. We also have until the end of March because it’s a budgetary item, so I also have a larger window if we need more time, so it’s not a hard deadline, but my desire is let’s lock this down let’s get it done. So we are very intently focused on keeping the Bills here. If Orchard Park’s their first choice, their only choice, it’s Orchard Park and we’ll make it all happen.
“We’re excited about announcing a deal hopefully in the near future, but a lot of the devil is in the details, ” she added.
Ron Raccuia, Executive Vice President of Pegula Sports & Entertainment offered a one-line statement: “We appreciate the Governor’s comments this morning. There’s a lot of work to be done and we continue those efforts.”
Orchard Park Town Board member Conor Flynn says it’s good news for all of the region, but he is hoping to set up a stadium advisory committee to protect the town’s interests. “Actually the town spends close to $100,000 a year on police overtime for policing those events. So, we’re gonna need to make sure we do what’s best for Orchard park residents while also doing what’s best for the community overall.”