Pat Freeman, Nick Stracick, George Hasiotis (photo- WBEN-cs)
The Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex LLC has put forward an ambitious proposal for a comprehensive NFL stadium, park, and entertainment complex on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor waterfront, based on a unique multi-sport, mixed-use model that would operate year-round. A key element of this would be a North American Museum of Sports and Culture created and operated by The Strong, whose exceptional exhibits and programming attract 600,000 people annually, more than total Bills attendance each year.
Yes, our vision is big and bold—but it is also well thought-out and well-timed. It takes five or six years to complete a project of this magnitude, and starting now is not only realistic, it is urgent!
We are asking the City of Buffalo and the State of New York to assist us in securing a waterfront site that our professional development team at HKS Inc. of Dallas says is one of the best anywhere for integrating the multiple uses we envision. Their assessment is based on waterfront aesthetics, urban location, geographic positioning, and the potential to tap millions of regional and destination travelers seeking leisure opportunities.
We based our plans for the Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex on the economic and strategic model that HKS helped make successful with Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. These days the NFL expects this of all its franchises.
We have begun this as a private sector initiative, but it must very soon involve government at various stages, such as land use and acquisition and collaboration on infrastructure planning. We anticipate that funding will be at least 70 percent private and no more than 30 percent public.
The regional community has been looking for private or public leadership to help keep professional football in Western New York. We have come forward to provide that leadership in a way that will also address pressing needs of economic development and job creation. In addition to a 72,000-seat stadium and the museum, our plan includes a convention center, a hotel, and retail. It will create 10,000 construction jobs for up to six years and thousands more permanent urban jobs. It will also attract significant Canadian investment into Western New York.
Whether you support keeping NFL football here or not, this makes economic sense—now.
George Hasiotis, Vice President, Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex LLC.