The Buffalo News, never afraid to ask the tough questions about a new Bills stadium, is at it again, wondering where a replacement for the just-now-being-renovated Ralph Wilson Stadium should be built. And who better to ask that question to than a disinterested party, like, say, local developers?
- “Downtown makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons,” [former Sabres president Larry Quinn] said, noting the growth that’s already gone on there and the availability of a decent amount of existing parking.
- “Given that we are a relatively small NFL market, that we are next to a large and rapidly growing metropolis like Toronto, that our binational location is one of our key strategic differentiators and that Niagara Falls is an internationally recognized icon – it’s certainly worthy of a close look as a possible new stadium site,” [said developer and regional development organization co-chair Howard Zemsky].
- “The only logical place is downtown Buffalo,” [downtown’s biggest landlord, Carl Paladino,] said, mentioning the Shoreline Apartments along lower Niagara Street and the Commodore Perry projects between South Park Avenue and the Niagara Thruway.
If there’s a surprise here, it’s that several of the developers somewhat chided the News for jumping the gun by assuming that a Bills stadium is necessarily necessary: Quinn said you can’t decide on a stadium until the team has a business plan (which requires an owner who is still breathing), Zemsky echoed his boss Gov. Andrew Cuomo by saying that the current renovations work well and “if we don’t need to change that formula, let’s not” (but if we do, let’s), and hotel developer Rocco Termini warned that stadiums themselves don’t necessarily boost economic activity in the surrounding area (“Show me where it’s worked and prove me wrong”).
The News, hearing this criticism, topped off its article with a sidebar listing six possible sites for a new stadium.