Common Council champions building new Buffalo Bills stadium Downtown

Buffalo’s Common Council is “advocating for the serious consideration and exploration of the feasibility of a downtown Buffalo Bills stadium.” This latest move is intended to build additional momentum for the placement of a downtown stadium, by “calling on all City, County, and State representatives of the City of Buffalo to advocate for the serious consideration and exploration of the feasibility of a downtown Buffalo Bills stadium.”

After weighing proposals for different locations, Common Council members felt that downtown was the best option for a number of reasons. By building a stadium in the heart of the city, there would be tremendous benefits, including a boost to Buffalo’s food, retail, hotel, convention, and tourism industries, new jobs, and stronger investment in public transportation options. All of these benefits would go hand-in-hand with a downtown move, making it a no-brainer decision. A downtown stadium would also benefit the region as a whole, similar to how other cities/regions with downtown stadiums flourish.

The call for a downtown stadium is supplemented by BMS Design Studio massing renderings, which demonstrate the potential placement of a stadium, as it relates to South Park Avenue. This was only an exercise to provide an example of how a stadium might fit within the context of a downtown setting. A handful of potential sites have been suggested (see Council resolution below).

At this potential location, nearly 90% of the 36 acre site is currently City-owned property

In the resolution sponsored by University District Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt, and adopted moments ago, Common Council members noted that it was a mistake to relocate the Bills stadium outside of the city. By building the stadium in Orchard Park, the city lost out over the years, similar to how it lost out when the University at Buffalo was relocated to Amherst. But now, there is a renewed interest in advocating for the rejuvenation of the city, by asking the right questions and demanding the right answers. Gone are the days of handshake deals behind closed doors, that resulted in the city of Buffalo losing ground to other cities… losing jobs… losing its youth… losing its pride, and sense of place.

(L-R) Scanlon and Feroleto

“This is a once in a generation opportunity and a significant taxpayer investment, we need to make sure we choose the location that will have the greatest economic impact on our region,” said South District Council Member, Chris Scanlon. “If taxpayers are going to be footing the bill, they deserve the largest possible return on their investment. I’m very encouraged to see the state examining all possible locations for the new stadium, but a location within the limits of the City of Buffalo could be a game changer.”

“Building a stadium downtown would be an excellent addition to the City and allow us to correct the past planning error of moving the Bills out of Buffalo” said Delaware District Council Member Joel P. Feroleto. “This opportunity would strengthen the City’s food, retail, hotel, and tourism industries.”

In the rendering, the light rail is extended down South Park to provide public transit to the site and to the neighborhood

We can continue to regain valuable ground, if we start making the right decisions.

Thankfully, Buffalo’s Common Council made the right decision, which resulted in the following agenda items:

Whereas, the Buffalo Bills originally played at the War Memorial Stadium, aka ‘the Rockpile’, on Buffalo’s East Side near the present-day Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus;

Whereas, when the AFL and NFL merged in the late 1960s, the NFL required stadiums to have much larger capacities than what could be accommodated at War Memorial Stadium, so the team relocated to Orchard Park to what is now Highmark Stadium;

Whereas, this move was in line with a series of poor city planning decisions on the mid 20th century that took Buffalo’s assets and moved them to the suburbs;

Whereas, as new assets continue to be built and our population continues to grow, Buffalo’s renaissance has given new momentum and interest in correcting these past planning errors;

Whereas, in 2015, a state-paid consultant identified three downtown sites as potential stadium locations: the Cobblestone District, south of the Buffalo Creek Casino and near the Buffalo River, and between Swan and Exchange streets, near the Pierce-Arrow Museum;

Whereas, in June on 2021, discussion began for a new Bills Stadium, which is estimated to cost $1.4 billion;

Whereas, this is an opportunity to develop plans for a downtown Buffalo Bills stadium, correcting the past error of moving the Bills out of Buffalo;

Whereas, there is speculation that the cost of a downtown stadium would be higher than an Orchard Park option because of added infrastructure costs;

Whereas, people and businesses in both the city and the suburbs would greatly benefit from these additional infrastructure changes in the city, including many new jobs and stronger investment in public transportation options;

Whereas, a downtown stadium would greatly strengthen Buffalo’s food, retail, hotel, and tourism industries; and,

Whereas, the City of Buffalo needs to be a serious consideration for the new Buffalo Bills stadium, which would be a great benefit to both Buffalo and its surrounding suburbs: therefore be it Resolved that the Buffalo Common Council hereby:

1.) Calls on all City, County, and State representatives of the City of Buffalo to advocate for the serious consideration and exploration of the feasibility of a downtown Buffalo Bills stadium;

2.) Requests the National Football League consider the many benefits associated with a downtown Buffalo Bills stadium;

3.) Requests that copies of this resolution be sent to the Mayor, the Buffalo delegation of the Erie County Legislature, the NYS Governor, and the Buffalo delegations of the NYS Senate and Assembly for consideration.

Buffalo fumbled the ball decades ago, but now there’s a chance to recover that ball, and take it in for a touchdown and a win.

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Also, read…

Developer Rocco Termini’s stance on the stadium in The City

Ryan Miller’s viewpoint and analysis of a downtown Bills stadium

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