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New Buffalo Bills Football Stadium Project Hits Major Milestone

BUFFALO, NY — Gilbane-Turner, the joint venture managing construction of the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium joined Governor Kathy Hochul, Buffalo Bills Owner Terry Pegula, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and other local officials to announce that structural steel will begin going up on the stadium. The new 60,000-seat facility, designed by the Bills in conjunction with Legends and the architectural firm Populous, is ready for the more visible large-scale structural steel work. The first steel beam hoisted into place will signify the progress taking place at the site of the new Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.

“This major construction milestone is a testament to the union labor and local workers who have made this project possible,” Hochul said. “By creating thousands of jobs, this stadium has already proven to be an engine for regional economic development. I am proud of all that has been accomplished and am excited to witness future progress as we move closer to opening day in 2026.”

“Collectively, more than 800 people have worked 138,000 hours to achieve this important project milestone," said Joe Byrne, Program Director for Gilbane-Turner. "Their neighbors and friends in the community will now visibly be able to see the stadium take shape over the course of the next two years. We all look forward to celebrating further project milestones, opening day, and attending exciting games and events for decades to come in this world-class stadium."

“We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and collaboration of our trade partners who are making the new home for the Buffalo Bills a reality,” said John LaRow, Principal-in-Charge, Gilbane-Turner. “The start of steel is a significant milestone, and we look forward to seeing this magnificent stadium take shape. We will continue to work closely with the Bills, Legends, Populous, and our partners in government to deliver a stadium that all Bills fans can be proud of.”

The milestone marks the completion of excavation seven months after breaking ground in June 2023. Trucks removed more than 500,000 cubic yards of stone and dirt, and laborers built a sheet piling wall and poured over 18,000 cubic yards of concrete to create the foundation.

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Those driving by the Orchard Park construction site will now begin to see the building take shape above ground, with the installation of approximately 25,000 tons of steel, enough to build approximately three Eiffel Towers. Several massive cranes will be used to build the steel superstructure. Steel will be erected in tiers over the next 12 to 14 months.

A worker appreciation event marked the start of steel construction and included the signing of a 20-foot steel beam by Hochul and hundreds of workers who safely completed the first phase of construction. The beam will be utilized within the stadium structure.

Once the steel framework is in place for the new 1.35 million-square-foot stadium, the building will be clad; mechanical, plumbing, and electrical will be installed; and each of the sections of the stadium will be built out. The number of workers on the job will grow to more than 1,500 daily from the 300 people today as the work progresses. Throughout the project a priority is placed on the employment of local workers and businesses. At this stage of the project, more than 95 percent of the laborers on the project are local.

The stadium marks one of the largest economic development projects in Western New York history with an estimated annual economic impact of $385 million and the creation of 10,000 union construction jobs, in accordance with a Project Labor Agreement agreed to by the Buffalo Building Trades Council. The Buffalo Bills franchise is an economic driver for the Buffalo region and the state as fans and spectators from across New York, the United States, and Canada patronize local businesses. The Bills currently generate $27 million annually in direct income, sales, and use taxes for New York State, Erie County, and Buffalo.

The new, open-air stadium is being built across from the existing Highmark Stadium, which was built in 1973, and includes several major improvements over the existing stadium facility. It will add weather mitigation features — including extensive radiant heating and a canopy that covers 65 percent of seats — to provide protection from inclement weather. The exterior of the stadium will also include enhanced gathering sites to be utilized by fans, spectators, and members of the surrounding community.

In 2022, Hochul announced the historic public-private stadium agreement, which includes a $600 million investment by New York State that will be recouped through taxes and economic activity that the team generates. Under the agreement, Erie County will contribute $250 million, and the Bills and NFL will invest no less than $690 million for the stadium’s construction.

“The Buffalo Bills fans are about to see their dream stadium rise up, one steel beam at a time," said Hope Knight, Empire State Development President, CEO, & Commissioner. "Thanks to Governor Hochul’s unparalleled leadership and the work of thousands of proud and dedicated union laborers, the building of the steel framework for the historic stadium is starting. We all look forward to enjoying an exciting new fan experience when the first game [is] played in 2026.”

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