A Buffalo company wants the Bills to move into a proposed $1.4 billion waterfront stadium with a retractable roof. The Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex says the facility could also double as a convention center.
What’s more, Strong National Museum of Play wants in, according to the Buffalo News:
The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, wants in, too, proposing the North American Museum of Sports and Culture as part of making the outer harbor a year-round destination.
G. Rollie Adams, a former Buffalonian who is president and CEO of Strong, said a sports museum would focus on “sports, play, competition and character.” He said, “This just seems like a natural way to bring a lot of things together.”
A few big problems with this plan:
1. The company hasn’t talked to the Bills.
2. The company hasn’t talked to politicians.
3. The company doesn’t own the 167-acre site – the state does.
4. There’s no business plan. But we all know what any business plan will include – a lot of your tax dollars. Study after study has shown stadiums are a money-loser for communities.
5. The last thing cities need is convention centers. They don’t make money and there’s a glut of space.
6. Is a football stadium the best use for waterfront property? A mixed use development including housing, retail and offices that comes out on the positive side for taxpayers might be better.
7. What’s the development plan for the surrounding area?
8. Would a stadium guarantee the Bills stick around? What’s the succession plan again?
The current plan is to renovate Ralph Wilson Stadium for $200 million. The state is being asked to kick in some cash. Some think the stadium will become outdated quickly, even with the upgrades. There are no guarantees the Bills won’t bolt when it’s all done.
This new proposal has a lot of “wow.” Many have wanted the Bills downtown for some time. But this is about as big a lift as we’ve ever seen for any project in this state. Make no mistake – if it gets done – we’ll be carrying it for some time.
Also, a lot of people are asking about parking and traffic. There would be 5,000 spaces, so don’t worry, tailgating wouldn’t be harmed. But I don’t believe downtown projects should be nixed because of traffic. There will always be bottlenecks at special events, no matter where they are located. Furthermore, in downtown areas, not everyone is coming and going out of the same lots. That said, this outer harbor area seems a tad isolated because of the Skyway.