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'This is once in a lifetime': Big dreams take shape at the future home of the Buffalo Bills

Deb Pereria Gilbane Turner.PNG
Posted at 1:37 PM, Sep 11, 2023

Eric Matwijow and 7 News Anchor Jeff Russo
Eric Matwijow owns the famed Hammer's Lot, a popular tailgating lot on Abbott Road in Orchard Park. The lifelong Bills fan, has a front row seat as construction gets underway on the new Bills stadium.

Eric Matwijow has a front row seat to history, with construction on the new Buffalo Bills stadium happening just a stones throw from his front door on Abbott Road in Orchard Park. Eric also owns the famed "Hammers Lot" just across the street, which is a popular spot for tailgaters.


"It's a sacrifice by a few people, me and my neighbor and a couple of other people to the benefit of the whole community."

Since breaking ground in June on the new 60,000 seat, state of the art facility, Eric has had to contend with a lot of noise and dust but says "it's a sacrifice by a few people, me and my neighbor and a couple of other people to the benefit of the whole community."

"A project like this is once in a lifetime for many communities."

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Deb Pereria is the Deputy Program Director for Gilbane-Turner

One of the benefits to the Western New York community is jobs.
Governor Kathy Hochul predicts work on the new Bills stadium will create 10,000 local construction jobs.

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This project is expected to create an estimated 10,000 construction jobs

The joint venture of Gilbane-Turneris in charge of managing construction. The group is working to connect certified local contractors with companies bidding for stadium jobs on a larger level.

"It's almost like speed dating," explains Deb Pereria the Deputy Program Director for Gilbane-Turner.

Opportunity for all is a major part of the stadium deal. The Community Benefits Agreement includes a 36% goal of including minority, women and veteran owned businesses in construction.

Breakdown showing the Community Benefits Agreement

Click here to see what else is included in the Community Benefits Agreement

Fuquan Collins is the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer with Gilbane-Turner

"We want to make sure that every member of the community really feels a part of a project like this."

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Jeff Russo speaks with Fuquan Collins of Gilbane-Turner

Fuquan Collins is the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer with Gilbane Turner. He says opportunity sessions continue to be held as they work toward fulfilling those diversity goals.

"When this level of investment has been made by the community, that's why it's extremely important for us that the communities see the dividends with that," says Collins.

Meet some of the interested contractors

Esteban Guerrero

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Esteban Guerrero is a certified electrician with more than 25 years experience

"As a minority contractor to see if I could work with some of the larger companies and see if I have the opportunity and the skill set to do some of the smaller stuff."

Jamie McDonough

Jamie McDonough is a Safety Compliance Manager with Sexton Services of Rochester

"We all have a common goal. We're trying to take care of the Buffalo Bills stadium. We are very proud of our Bills and we want to make sure this project comes in on time and safely."
Yves Richard Blanc

Yves Richard Blanc is a certified corporate photographer with 40 years of experience

"It can change the trajectory of my business as well as being a part of this history making type of build."


"It's opportunity ... it's a question of what we do with that opportunity."

So as plans at the stadium site take shape, stakeholders are also focusing on how the surrounding community will grow thanks to this new investment.

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Aerial shot showing construction on new Bills stadium in Orchard Park
New Bills Stadium Rendering Interior October 27 2022

Gene Majchrzak is the Orchard Park Town Supervisor. He envisions development on properties bordering both the new stadium and the current stadium near Southwestern Boulevard. He says the Town Board would be willing to rezone those areas to accommodate interested developers but admits it will come down to the number of events scheduled at the new stadium.

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Jeff Russo talks with Orchard Park Town Supervisor Gene Majchrzak about potential development around the new Bills stadium.

"The Bills have been here for 50 years," says Majchrzak. And it's been nothing but eight to ten football games a year. A developer is not going to come here and spend millons of dollars for ten football games. So the way I understand it, the stadium is going to be used for a lot of different types of opportunities other than football games and concerts so that presents and an opportunity to local developers."

"The right half of my brain says that's a lot of money, but the left half of my brain says this is going to be the new heart of the region."

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Jeff Russo interviews University at Buffalo professors; Matt Roland and Conrad Kickert

Matthew Roland and Conrad Kickert are professors with the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. The school also focuses on the economic impact of various projects, like the new Bills stadium.

They say additional boosts to the economy will continue as the new stadium continues to evolve as a regional destination. They say that draw comes with scheduling for things other than football, special events, conventions, even big concerts with headliners like Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift arrives at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

"They need to heavily program that stadium to make sure that it has visitors every week, several times a week," explains Kickert. "That's where Taylor Swift shows up. That's where musical events take place. that's the only way to make sure that your stadium isn't just surrounded by a parking lot and people leave again."