New Buffalo Bills Football Stadium project hits major construction milestone

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Structural steel will begin going up on the Buffalo Bills’ new state-of-the-art stadium. More than 800 laborers contributed to the significant construction milestone.

Officials gathered for an employee appreciation lunch and witnessed the first beam being lifted into place.

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.

“As workers hoist into place the first structural steel at the new Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, we want to recognize the many dedicated workers who have safely played an instrumental role in the initial phases of the project and those who will work on the project moving forward as we look ahead to our first game in the new stadium in 2026,” said Bills Interim COO/SVP of Finance & Business Administration Josh Dziurlikowski. “Today’s recognition of our indispensable workforce is another reminder of the hard work of many building a stadium that will be a great source of pride for Bills fans everywhere.”

The milestone marks the completion of excavation seven months after breaking ground in June 2023. It was a monumental job, with trucks removing 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.

The building will now 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 12-14 months.

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.

“Collectively, more than 800 people have worked 138,000 hours to achieve this important project milestone. 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,” said Program Director for Gilbane-Turner Joe Byrne. “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.

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, Governor Kathy 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.

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