Bills Stadium Saga Reaches Inevitable Conclusion

There really was never going to be much of a question over where the Bills new stadium was going to be built. While the conversation over a downtown or Orchard Park site was a valuable one to have, the die was cast when the Bills released their report indicating their preference to build in Orchard Park.

“Concerned” downtown developers can turn their attention to other causes now that Governor Hochul said the state will accept the Bills’ preferred site across Abbott Rd. in Orchard Park. The Pegulas held the hammer on this and barring extraordinary circumstances, the state and county were always going to play ball with regard to where they wanted to build (humorous as it may be considering they’re asking the public to pay for so much of this project).

Rendering by Populous, I think.

Maintaining the status quo in Orchard Park is a fine conclusion to this process. The Bills can continue to play next door to their training facilities and offices, the fans get to keep tailgating and the price tag will be slightly more palatable for all parties involved. A more streamlined construction schedule and lower land acquisition costs all add up as positive factors for a new stadium in Orchard Park.

The limitations of a suburban stadium will remain as well. Below average access and limited offseason uses being chief among them.

We certainly don’t lose anything with the construction of a new stadium in Orchard Park. But we don’t really gain anything either, and I think that’s the one lasting question I’ll have once the new building is finished. What, if anything, will we have missed by not building in the city? There are many, many issues at play, but there are a few overarching topics which probably needed more attention than they got.

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Floating ideas on a future site for the Bills stadium

There’s been a whole lot of talk about where the Bills will reside once their newest lease expires in 10 years (or seven depending on what course of action they take).

While the current renovations will serve as little more than a soggy band-aid for the aging stadium, the lease is designed to provide the time necessary to get a new stadium designed, approved and built in Western New York. Of course seven to ten years probably isn’t long enough around these parts.

Although a shiny new stadium built on the Outer Harbor is probably the first choice for many new stadium advocates, I think that it’s more likely that Bass Pro will build a floating supercenter to support the new signature Peace Bridge span before a football stadium gets constructed on the Outer Harbor. Too many opponents with plans for parks, public access and other causes which simply don’t align with a billion dollar project such as that.

Bear in mind that a number of stadiums have been built in the past 10-20 years for relatively acceptable costs and there’s no reason to think that the new Bills stadium (open or with a roof) couldn’t be completed without eclipsing the billion dollar plateau.

Instead, I think there are a few more feasible locations throughout the city that would not only appease those who staunchly disagree with placing the stadium on the water but also the parties who hope to see the stadium built in the city limits. I’ll go in order of most ridiculous and unrealistic and work my way down to the plan I like best  (forgive the sloppy photo work). Continue reading