New York taxpayers will allocate an unprecedented $850 million in public funds to build the Buffalo Bills’ brand new $1.4 billion stadium, according to the terms of a deal between the billionaire owners of the NFL franchise released Monday and state officials.
New York State will allocate $600 million to build the stadium in its annual budget proposal due Friday, while Erie County will take on $250 million, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office. The NFL and the Bills will cover the remaining $550 million.
The agreement followed weeks of closed-door negotiations between Hochul, Erie County officials and the Bills’ owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, who had threatened to move the franchise unless the state provided public funding for a new stadium ready.
The governor’s office said projected tax revenues and the stadium’s overall economic impact would more than offset the public contribution – shaking off critics who argue the plan would amount to corporate welfare despite the Pegula family’s deep pockets.
Hochul, a native of Oxen, argued the deal was a net gain for the state economy – with a 30-year commitment from the Bills to stay in New York. She added that the stadium project would create 10,000 union jobs in the state.
“I went into these negotiations trying to answer three questions — how long can we keep the Bills in Buffalo, how can we make sure this project benefits the hard-working men and women of western New York, and how can we get the best deal? Taxpayer?” Hochul said in a statement.
The Post reported earlier this month that state and county officials would pledge nearly $1 billion for a new Bills Stadium. For the project to proceed, state legislatures must approve stadium funding when they vote on the annual budget.
If approved, an architecture firm called Populous will design the stadium, which is set to open as early as 2026.
Critics had questioned the need to provide a huge giveaway for the stadium given Pegula’s staggering fortune of more than $7 billion. And some felt the Pegula’s threat to relocate was a bluff given their close ties to western New York.
“Everyone in government folded like a cheap suit,” a veteran New York government lobbyist who wasn’t involved in negotiations told The Post earlier this month. “I am shocked.”
The $850 million taxpayer bill is the largest on record for an NFL stadium, surpassing the $750 million in public funding allocated to build Allegiant Stadium, the $1.97 billion Dollar home stadium of the Las Vegas Raiders.
The stadium will be located near the Bills’ current facility at Orchard Park and will seat at least 60,000. The Bills’ existing lease on the decades-old Highmark Stadium was set to expire in 2023.
The Pegula family said the deal was “another step” towards a new Bills Stadium in Orchard Park – although they warned the project still faces roadblocks.
“Although there are more hurdles to clear before we reach the finish line, we believe our public-private partnership between New York State, Erie County, led by County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and the National Football League will get us there.” “, so called the Pegulas.
Despite the high cost to taxpayers, Hochul’s office noted that the stadium would be financed about 61% from public funds, which is “well below other recent NFL stadium deals in comparable markets.”
https://nypost.com/2022/03/28/buffalo-bills-secure-deal-for-1-4b-stadium-with-850m-taxpayer-bill/ Buffalo Bills secure $1.4 billion stadium deal with $850 million taxpayer bill