Poloncarz: Cost of new Bills stadium has gone up, but nothing will fall on community's shoulders

"All cost overruns and any increases are to be borne by the Bills"

Lancaster, N.Y. (WBEN/WGR 550) - Buffalo Bills fans were able to get another glimpse of what's to come in Orchard Park come 2026 with another round of design renderings for a new football released by the team on Monday.

These renderings come nearly two weeks after the Erie County Stadium Corporation (ECSC) affirmed the general project plan for construction of the new stadium, which is expected to get underway in June.

The next step in the process will be to get the finalized documents that have been authorized over to the Erie County Legislature for their final approval of the overall stadium deal.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is certainly hopeful the documents will be presented to the Legislature sometime in the very near future.

"Right now, all the major issues are done. The documents I was hoping we would be able to have as of last week, but there's still some things that the attorneys are dealing with on opinion letters and the like that are just keeping it from being signed by me, being signed by Terry Pegula, and then sent over to the [Erie County] Legislature for the final approval," said Poloncarz during a media event on Monday in Lancaster. "There's no major issues that have to be dealt with, from a standpoint of the economics of the deal, the finances of the deal."

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Poloncarz then says once the final documents are signed off by the Legislature, permits for construction can start to be issued, and other matters that will allow for major construction to commence.

"We can't do work until it's actually been approved by the Legislature. At that point, then we have an agreed upon deal between all three parties, and that covers everything," he said. "People wonder why can't you do it beforehand, you have insurance issues, you have indemnity issues. If you start doing work there and the County has not authorized it as a legitimate contract, if there are serious problems that happen if somebody gets injured, well then who's responsible for it if you actually don't have a contract? So my goal, and I think everyone's goal, is to have shovels in the ground in April. It's almost April. I'm hopeful we'll be able to finalize these issues, the attorneys will resolve their differences - which are not big, but they do affect whether or not we can sign the documents - and go forward."

Poloncarz further details that an announcement of the funding schedule for the new stadium and other matters will be announced in the near future. He does add that the cost of the new stadium to be constructed before the 2026 season has gone up.

"It has gone up, but there will be no additional cost borne by the people of Erie County and New York State, because under the agreement that we have, all cost overruns and any increases are to be borne by the Bills," Poloncarz said.

When it comes to Monday's renderings released by the team, Poloncarz feels things are getting really close to what's going to be the final design. That's because the Bills will soon be starting to put together the packages for construction.

"I think you get a better understanding of what the outside of the building looks like, but you have to remember - I was saying it early on - the concourses will be enclosed. Once you get inside the building, you're not going to be like walking in the snow or the rain like you do at the existing facility," Poloncarz explained. "I think people will have a better understanding that because of the way it's designed, once you're in the building, the concourses are enclosed. Of course, it's an open-air stadium, but you see a better idea of how the screening works on the top. And you also, I think, get a better idea of the width of the stadium in these most recent renderings, which really show that it could be used for soccer, FIFA standards. I think it gives you a better understanding that this will be a multi-sport stadium, not just for the football team.

"I'm sure there'll be tweaks along the way, but it's pretty much, I think, what you're gonna see as a final product. There may be some cosmetic changes on a color here or there, but the design is getting to the point where it's nearing the end on the design of it."

More of Poloncarz's comments regarding the new Bills stadium in Orchard Park is available in the player below:

Featured Image Photo Credit: Buffalo Bills/Populous