BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Town of Orchard Park is gearing up for major construction and one of the biggest development projects in Western New York’s history.
The price tag on the new Bills Stadium is estimated at more than $1.5 billion dollars. Residents are already seeing heavy equipment move into the area, especially on the Erie Community College campus, where the former running track and field has been torn up. There’s also additional fencing along Abbott Road. Construction will bring some disruptions to area residents, according to Town Supervisor Gene Majchrak.
“We just have to be patient and before we know it, it will be 2026, and Josh and the team will be playing in the new stadium and we will forget about all the inconvenience,” Majchrak said.
Residents say they are used to construction and noise. The current stadium has been renovated before and the ADPRO Sports Training House was redone along with new practice fields.
“But this isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Right across the street at Drive 1, they were building practice fields not that long ago. I got to hear and experience all of the noise, so I have a little idea of what’s going to happen out here,” Mark Lester, a nearby resident, said.
The deal is signed, sealed and delivered, so what comes next for the town? Supervisor Majchrzak says he wants the area around the stadium rezoned to build hotels, restaurants and more to make Orchard Park a destination.
“We’ll zone it properly so that it will be developer friendly,” Majchrzak said. “Make this along with the Bills plans, make this a nice destination place.”
Lester lives on Route 20A. He says he owns many acres of land along the busy road, some of which he uses for parking and other sections that remain undeveloped. He owns Yellow Brick Parking, which brings in fans from near and far to park on his property.
“If they are looking for that type of development, they should really look within the town and talk to the people that are here who might be willing and able to provide those things,” Lester says.
Local businesses in the area say they are grateful the team is staying in the Southtowns. Wings Flights of Hope Event Center on California Road uses its massive parking lot to host fans and tailgates on game days.
“For us, we’re excited it is going to stay here and I think with all of the construction going on, we have plenty of room for parking, so who knows, maybe we will run out of parking spots,” Joe DeMarco, owner of Wings Flights of Hope, said.
For many fans and area residents, their sights are set on tickets for the stadium, especially the personal seat licenses, which could be too pricey for long time ticket holders.
“Our family’s had tickets since 1960, since day one, and I don’t know if we will be able to keep them and that’s a little scary thing going on with this licensing fee too,” DeMarco added.
The Bills say construction will begin immediately and excavation is set to start in June.
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.