Soon enough we will get our first look at the renderings for the new Bills stadium. We’ve gotten some hints of what to expect already. Open air with a partially covered seating bowl, natural grass surface. How the rest of the stadium comes together remains to be seen.
While we wait, I thought it would be fun to cobble together some examples of cool or unique features from around the world of sports that might be fun to see incorporated into Buffalo’s new digs.
What will follow is a combination of pipe dreams and more realistic suggestions from football, soccer and other stadiums throughout North America and the rest of the world. Think of this as stadium a la carte.
We know the new stadium will have a covered stand of some sort. A wise choice with a full roof ruled out. Covered seats will make for a more comfortable fan experience if the weather turns nasty while still allowing the game to be played in the elements. Covering the seats will add a prominent visual feature to the stadium. So the design of the partial roof will have a lot to do with the overall look of Buffalo’s new digs.
Think about the roof on Hard Rock Stadium. It’s a recent addition and it’s painfully unattractive. It looks ridiculous. Full stop. Meanwhile, Seattle’s Lumen Field also features covered seats, but theirs was part of the original design of the building. Both are effective in their function but Seattle’s integrates into the building so much better. The 70% coverage in Seattle would be a good figure to aim for here in Buffalo and the sound amplifying design would be a nice fringe benefit.
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The Bills sale is going to close before we know it and the focus will shift from who will be purchasing the team to what that new owner plans to do for a new stadium.
More than a few opinions are floating around currently and this week’s Artvoice cover story goes into great detail about a very cool plan for a new stadium in the heart of downtown. It is a phenomenal article written by a pair of stadium experts with the details worked out and planned by a true expert.
I really love the idea of depressing the 190 and eliminating a great deal of the barriers that sever the central business district from the waterfront. My concern is that the costs associated with such a project would ultimately doom this plan, despite its resounding brilliance. There won’t be a better alternative in terms of quality, preparation and vision compared to what Andrew Kulyk, Peter Farrell and the rest of the Artvoice crew came up with.
That being said, I decided to break down and share my own personal pipe dream for a downtown stadium. In a previous post on this site, I alluded to my interest in utilizing the Perry Projects as the site for a new stadium. I love the proximity to Canalside and First Niagara Center along with the opportunity to reinvigorate a district that has been whittled down to a single block of buildings.
This plan is contingent on one major factor: the development of an adequate replacement to the current Perry Projects. If there isn’t a feasible option for relocating the residents of both the towers and two-story apartments, there is no reason to think about a stadium on this site. Ideally the BMHA (whose office near the Perry projects would need to move as well) would be able to take advantage of the countless vacant lots throughout the city to develop a replacement project. Getting funding for this project from the future owner would certainly go a long way in financing the construction of the new units while aiding in gaining approval for such an undertaking.
Assuming that a new home for the Perry Projects is found, the rest of my proposal follows in a fairly simple path. Upon replacing the Perry Projects, I’d see both the currently occupied buildings along with the vacant ones further south demolished to make way for new development. Everything between Chicago and Hamburg St. could be removed and that land would serve as the location of the new stadium. There would be space for new offices for the Bills as well if that was deemed a necessary addition. You’ll notice that I’m leaving out the field house because I feel that the current one serves the team too well to simply be cast aside. Continue reading →