Mon May 26, 2014
Press Pass: Locating a new stadium for the Bills
An investment bank and law firm have been retained by the estate of Ralph Wilson to help facilitate the sale of the Buffalo Bills. In this week's Press Pass, Jim Fink of Business First discusses how the move should speed a sale process which will almost certainly coincide with the building of a new stadium.
"If you want to keep the Buffalo Bills, this is the price of keeping the franchise. Sort of like, if you want to join a country club, you have to pay an admission fee," said Fink, who noted the cost of a new stadium would range from $500 million to $1 billion.
Niagara Falls, Batavia and Buffalo's Outer Harbor have been mentioned as possible locations for a new stadium.
"I don't think we're ever going to see a stadium built on the Buffalo waterfront. First of all, the footprint is wrong," Fink said.
"They have trouble when they have concerts down there. When they have five or ten-thousand people, getting people in and out of there. When you get 70,000 people down there? Come on, let's be realistic."
Fink believes the current location of the Perry Housing Projects might be an ideal location, though it would be complicated by the need to relocate thousands of residents.
The retailer Nordstrom Rack has announced its intentions to establish its first location in Western New York.
"Retailers don't make these decisions out of sentimentality. They take a look at the demographics and say 'Can we make our financial return on our investment?'" Fink said.
"Obviously, Buffalo is now at that point where they say, 'We can invest millions to build these stores and we get our ample return.'"
Fink also believes the recent Buffalo School Board elections will be a boost for city schools. The results prompted current Superintendent Pamela Brown to publicly discuss her likely departure.
"You finally have a school board, they get it. They will find a superintendent. They won't just pick the first person who comes along," said Fink, who predicts an interim superintendent will be added in the near future.
"They will probably find somebody who can start to right the ship. It's not going to happen overnight. Not by any stretch. It's a long term process."