BUFFALO, NY - We're getting a clearer picture about a push to move the Bills to downtown Buffalo. That picture comes in the form of a computer rendering of what a new stadium could look like.
A company called the Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex is behind the proposal and went before a Common Council committee Tuesday armed with a preliminary site plan. Some hope if these plans come to fruition, it would ensure the Bills stay here for decades to come.
"This is an all-purpose facility that can be used year-round for a variety of events, concerts, festivals, trade shows, you name it, conventions," said WUFO Sports Director Pat Freeman.
Year-round, because the design is for a retractable roof. The very preliminary plan calls for a 72,000 seat stadium plus a convention center, hotel and retail. It's all part of a large sports complex that would sit along Buffalo's outer harbor on land currently owned by the NFTA.
Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex hired HKS to design the stadium. HKS is the architectural firm behind Cowboys Stadium in Texas and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy. It's also designing the new stadium in Minneapolis.
Representatives from the Strong Museum in Rochester were also on hand to discuss the possibility of incorporating a sports and culture museum as part of the project.
Freeman has been pushing a downtown stadium for some time and is working with the company behind this plan. 2 on Your Side asked him about the biggest obstacle: funding. The cost is estimated at $1.4 billion.
REPORTER: "Are you confident that we can come up with the money to do something like this?"
FREEMAN: "That's going to come out in the presentation. Yes we can do it. I'm 100 percent confident we can get it done."
Freeman says it's worth it because a new stadium is the only way to ensure the team remains the Buffalo Bills, "by building a new stadium, to me it ends the discussion. It locks your franchise in for a long term."
Council members attending, including committee chairman Paul Golombek, expressed enthusiasm for the proposal, but acknowledged ther are many hurdles to overcome before becoming a reality.