New Era Field II
|Location||Buffalo, New York|
|Operator||Pegula Sports and Entertainment|
|Buffalo Bills (NFL)|
New Era Field II is the working title for a proposed American football stadium located near or within Buffalo, New York for use by the Buffalo Bills. Numerous proposals have been submitted to the City of Buffalo, Erie County, the Bills, and the State of New York. Regardless of whatever proposal is built, New Era Cap Company will hold right of first refusal over naming rights to the stadium as part of a naming rights deal with the team's current stadium that was signed in August 2016.
The Buffalo Bills' lease included a provision allowing for the creation of a working group to explore options for either a new stadium for the team, or an extensive retrofit of the current New Era Field.
On February 10, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration appointed Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Buffalo Niagara Partnership CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen and Empire State Development President Kenneth Adams to a new study board to discuss the feasibility and plans for a new stadium.
Shortly after the death of owner Ralph Wilson, on March 27, 2014, the Bills selected their members for the panel, including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Bills CEO and President Russ Brandon, local developer Louis Ciminelli, Bills CFO Jeff Littman, New Era Cap Co. CEO Christoper Koch among others. The group's first meeting was held on April 1.
In mid-January 2015, AECOM, retained by the State of New York, released a report detailing suggested stadium sites based upon criteria of site size, cost of land, infrastructure and external development, among other factors. The study narrowed the search to four sites.
The Pegulas indicated on July 31, 2015 that they had no immediate plans to pursue a new stadium. The situation remained unchanged as of November 2017. By March 2018, the Pegulas had entered the "very early stages" of exploring long-term stadium options for the Bills. In September 2018, the Pegulas stated that they would begin planning the new stadium, or possibly renovating the current one, after the November 2018 gubernatorial elections, as state funding would likely be required.
Outer Harbor stadium proposal
On October 23, 2012, George Hasiotis and Nicholas Stracick of Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex, a Delaware-based LLC, presented a rendered plan created by architect firm HKS, Inc. to the Buffalo Common Council. The plan included a $1.4 billion, 72,000-seat retractable roof stadium, convention center, hotel and sports museum plan for the Buffalo Outer Harbor. At first this plan was met with some cynicism, in particular because of the feasibility of the project.
On December 11, the company met with local AFL-CIO members to discuss the amount of jobs created by the proposed project, which was said to be 10,000. Stracick also disclosed that there are "15 private, secret sponsors" willing to fund the project. He also stated that no tax money would be used to fund a stadium.
In January 2013, the group met with Erie County legislators, their second major appearance since October. During this meeting, the idea of having the Strong Foundation open a sports museum on the $1.8 billion premises was also strengthened.
Howard Zemsky, chairman of the NFTA has said that he is opposed to the project, referring to the idea of granting a nine to twelve month option on the waterfront land, saying simply "we're not doing that."
In May 2013 the GBSEC submitted a $500,000 offer to the NFTA for the exclusive right to negotiate the purchase of 150 acres of outer harbor land.
On August 26, 2014, it was announced that the Outer Harbor site was no longer being considered, after a study showed that at least four bridges would need to be built to effectively service the increase in traffic.
Buffalo Sports Corridor
On May 11, 2014, another proposal for an outer harbor sports complex was announced by Buffalo Sportz Complex, known as "Olympia Sports Park." This complex would be located slightly south of the GBSEC proposed site.
Thomas Dee, President of the Erie County Harbor Development Corporation, acknowledged the proposal but also noted that similar projects, including the GBSEC proposal, also exist for competition.
The August 7, 2014, issue of Artvoice, a local magazine for the Buffalo area, detailed a plan for a new Bills stadium and retail in downtown Buffalo, immediately to the east of the KeyBank Center.
The AECOM report recommended four sites, including along the Buffalo River and Ohio Street, next to the KeyBank Center, at the current site of New Era Field, and across from Sahlen Field.
Other potential stadium locations have been mentioned or rumored, including:
- Land bordered by Illinois, Exchange, Michigan and Perry Streets in downtown Buffalo, near the KeyBank Center
- A portion of the Lackawanna/Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna
- Land north of Interstate 90 outside of Batavia, New York
- Pyramid Companies developer Scott Congel once suggested a plot of land in West Seneca, New York, on the site of the former Seneca Mall
On August 26, 2014, it was announced that the Niagara Falls (which may have used a large plot being held by Howard Milstein) and Buffalo Outer Harbor sites have been ruled out based on similar issues with infrastructure related to the two sites.
- Fink, James (August 17, 2016). "New Era Field replacing Ralph Wilson Stadium name". Business First. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
- Warner, Gene (February 10, 2014). "Cuomo names first members to group tasked with exploring new Bills stadium". Buffalo News. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- "County Names Seven Members to New Stadium Committee". WKBW. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- McCarthy, Robert (27 March 2014). "Bills announce their picks to panel that will explore options for new stadium". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- Brown, Chris (November 5, 2014). "Pegulas update their plans for Bills". Buffalo Bills. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
- "BUFFALO NFL STADIUM SITE OPTIONS ANALYSIS" (PDF). WGRZ. December 23, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Sommer, Mark (October 23, 2012). "Retractable-roof stadium proposed for outer harbor". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- Martinez, Natalia (December 11, 2012). "Pitch to Union for New Bills Stadium". TWCNews. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Raguse, Lou. "Businessmen push for downtown stadium". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- Holmes, Melissa. "Waterfront Stadium Group Makes $500K Land Offer to NFTA". WGRZ.com. Gannett. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- "Finalists for site of a new Bills stadium are likely in Erie County - The Buffalo News". www.buffaloNews.com. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
- "A park is born, while waterfront planning proceeds - The Buffalo News". www.buffaloNews.com. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
- "Our Downtown Stadium". artvoice.com. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
- Kulyk, Andrew (August 7, 2014). "Our Downtown Stadium". Artvoice Daily. Artvoice Daily. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- Maiorana, Sal (May 25, 2014). "Batavia knows it's a long shot for stadium". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- McKinley, Dave (May 29, 2014). "Poloncarz Says Congel Only Casually Mentioned Interest in Bills, Stadium". WGRZ. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- Precious, Tom (August 28, 2014). "Finalists for site of a new Bills stadium are likely in Erie County". The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
New Era Field
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