Poloncarz: No discussions about downtown Bills stadium

Unlikely to have joint stadium and convention center

Mike Baggerman
September 20, 2018 - 10:00 pm

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. September 20, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said there’s been no discussions about building a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.

Last week, Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula said that they would wait until after the 2018 elections to announce future stadium plans. The Buffalo Bills’ stadium lease expires in the summer of 2023. Kim Pegula said that she would like to have a framework in place before it expires.

READ MORE: Bills stadium plans put on hold until after November elections

“Where we stand right now today, as someone who knows, because I’m the guy who’s in the meetings, there is no discussion about building a new stadium,” Poloncarz told reporters.

Talks about a downtown stadium rose again following the announcement that a parking lot adjacent to the HSBC building in downtown Buffalo is being considered as a site for the new Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The other proposal is to expand its current site.

The stadiums in Minnesota and Indianapolis both feature a convention center and a football field.

“You have to remember, when it comes to the football fields, the team would want complete control of the facility,” Poloncarz added. “Why would we build a joint one if we would then give up control of the facility?”

Poloncarz said that Indianapolis’ stadium is not a joint convention center and football field. It’s simply a convention center with a football field nearby.

The county executive did say, though, that the Pegulas had conversations about the convention center because of its possible impact with Pegula Sports and Entertainment.

“They were very intrigued (about the HSBC site) because they realized there was one site that is very close to their current holdings,” Poloncarz said. “They did not (endorse one site), or at least they didn’t tell me that. I think they’re the same opinion as we are that if we are to stay in the convention business, we have to do something. I fully expect to hear from Pegula Sports and Entertainment that they support the idea of moving forward and not just status quo.”

Poloncarz also noted that the Pegulas made a significant investment in recent years at New Era Field for renovations.

READ MORE: County officials release study on convention center

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