Group Proposes Downtown Bills Stadium

October 23, 2012 Updated Oct 23, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

...
October 23, 2012 Updated Oct 23, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Buffalo lawmakers are kicking around a new idea that could change the game-face of downtown Buffalo.

The idea is to build a $1.4 billion stadium along Buffalo's Outer Harbor.

The billion dollar stadium would be a covered facility with a retractable roof and would seat 72-thousand people.

It would include a convention center, hotel and several stores.

However, just like the hometown team, there are quite a few hurdles to overcome, before anyone can claim victory on this project.

President and CEO of the idea, Nicholas Stracick, says The Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex would move the stadium to the Outer Harbor because "people want to be down by the water and enjoy things. That's why we want to build it there. We got a convention center, we got parking, we've got everything."

Proponents of the stadium pitched the idea at Buffalo's Common Council meeting on Tuesday.

The stadium would be 1.6 million square foot -- taking up 165 acres of land on the outer harbor.

Stracick says a tram would lead people to the complex.

People with the complex even say after a few years, it would bring the Bills to the Superbowl.

The complex would not just include football games. Stracick explains "We're going to have all kinds of events -- boxing, tennis, all kinds of events going on."

That would also include concerts, a museum and venues for people to come to on a daily basis.

Proponents say it would bring millions of dollars and ten thousand jobs to Buffalo.

Daryl Bodewes, of the National Regional Council of Carpenters, says "You're talking thousands of construction jobs and you're talking millions of dollars in wages and benefits."

The project would cost about $1.4 billion.

Stracick says very little would come from taxpayer dollars.

He says the company has already lined up sponsors to pitch in and that "when we get the land, then we will have a presentation of every sponsor on a video -- show them the whole layout of the complex. I'll bring every sponsor in the town and promote this."

Stracick says the downtown complex would also get $250-million from the NFL.

He also suggests the Buffalo Billion goes to the stadium. In his January State of the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo promised one billion dollars to Western New York. The fate of that money has not been announced yet.

The Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex already has HKS Design to work on the stadium.

HKS also designed the new Yankees, Colts and Cowboys stadiums.

This is not Stracick's first shot at designing a sports complex.

The former baseball umpire won hundreds of millions of dollars in a lawsuit against Disney. A jury found that Disney stole Stracick's idea for a sports complex at Disney World.

The common council says it will keep looking into.

Stracick, a Buffalo native, is determined, saying "It will be built and it will be built on the water. Period"

Buffalo Bills representative Scott Berchtold tells Eyewitness News that the Bills are aware of the idea, but do not have a comment on this time.

Council members shared several concerns. One worry was about tailgating, and making sure there would be an area for tailgaters at the complex.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz stated another concern is "lack of space needed for parking, distance from the downtown core, and insufficient road infrastructure, particularly in bad weather, to accommodate the thousands of fans heading to the site."

Other council members share that concern.

Poloncarz adds that the county has not been contacted by proponents of the idea.

Erie County will continue negotiating the lease for the stadium at Orchard Park.