BUFFALO, N.Y. - A new stadium for the Buffalo Bills is years away, but even at this early stage, there have been some serious discussions about where it might be built.
When the Bills, the state, and local leaders agreed on a new lease for Ralph Wilson stadium in Orchard Park, part of that deal was to form a group to discuss building a new stadium. While any big news is at least two-to-three years away, multiple sources tell 2 On Your Side there already have been serious discussions about where to put that new stadium.
We've been able to identify at least four general locations that have been mentioned. It's unclear to what extent they're true contenders or just possibilities.
The first possibility is the old Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna. The land is cheap, but it's partially contaminated, and would need to be cleaned up.
Former Erie Deputy County Executive Bruce Fisher, who spent years trying to help redevelop the property, said the site is probably a long shot.
"Simply put, it's too far away, and it would be too expensive to get people too and from the Bethlehem Steel site," said Fisher, who believes the governor would insist on a new stadium being built near an area where economic development is already taking place.
The second possibility is Buffalo's Outer Harbor, where developers already have publicly indicated their goal to build a stadium and convention center complex. However, it's unclear if any influential leaders are willing to get behind the project.
The third possibility for a stadium is near downtown Buffalo, perhaps close enough to the new construction and entertainment near the waterfront. Or, the stadium could be built a bit further back, where there is plenty of inexpensive land not far from the Larkin Building or perhaps closer to the Perry Projects.
"There are places right next to downtown Buffalo that can be acquired cheaply, that already have transportation, already have water, already have sewer, already have all of the other utilities," Fisher said. "And, frankly, that people can either walk to or take pubic transportation to."
The final possibility may be the wild card. The new stadium could be built in Downtown Niagara Falls, where there's also plenty of inexpensive land.
REPORTER: Why would Niagara Falls makes sense?
FISHER: Adjacency to Canada. Ease of access for Canadians. Everybody in Western New York knows how to get there, and, frankly, if you're the State of New York and want to send the message that Niagara Falls is the brand new, refreshed better, four-season entertainment zone, what could be better than having your major entertainment for the region, your iconic entertainment for the region, located there.
The site of the current stadium in Orchard Park was not among any of the possibilities we have heard.