Developer Confident Soccer Stadium Will be Built in Buffalo for 2023 Kickoff

John McClutchy tells WBEN the stadium is just part of the plan

Brian Mazurowski
November 20, 2019 - 11:44 am

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - The real estate developer who's looking to bring high level pro soccer to Buffalo said he's confident that he will be able to build a soccer-specific stadium in time for a USL Championship team to kick off in 2023.

In an interview with WBEN's Brian Mazurowski, John McClutchy didn't disclose potential locations for a stadium, but said that his group is looking at sites in and around downtown Buffalo that would allow them to also develop ancillary properties surrounding it.

"We believe we can take advantage of some opportunities in terms of brownfield credits that are available," McClutchy said. "Some (sites) are in opportunity zones, which is another investment center for us. We're spending a lot of time and money right now identifying those sites."

McClutchy said that he is "hopeful" that more specific conversations about the site will happen in the first half of 2020. He pointed to local partner Dennis Penman, who sits on the board of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, as someone who will help work with the City of Buffalo during the site selection process.

"A key part in this... we also intend to develop around the stadium to create value for everyone," McClutchy told WBEN while discussing why the real estate developer would get involved in pro soccer.

As for the team itself, McClutchy said he's a fan of the game of soccer, and looks at the USL as an intriguing opportunity with growth potential, especially after the US hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2026. He believes the USL and Major League Soccer (MLS, the nation's highest-level league) will grow closer together through the next several years, though said that the future Buffalo franchise eventually moving up to MLS is not part of his pitch to the community.

And what about FC Buffalo, the team that has been an outlet for many Western New York soccer fans for the last 10 years?

"We don't see ourselves as competitive with their team," McClutchy said. "We see ourselves as supporting their team."

You can listen to the entire interview between Mazurowski and McClutchy below:

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