Cream of crop contractors to build Bills home



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Contractor chosen for new Buffalo Bills stadium Image: Buffalo Bills

A week after the release of renderings that showed what the new home of the National Football League (NFL) team Buffalo Bills (US) stadium will look like, the contractors that will build the $1.4 billion facility have been picked.

‘The Buffalo News’ stated that the Pegula Sports and Entertainment picked a joint venture between the Gilbane Building Company, a Rhode Island-based contractor, New York City-based Turner Construction and 34 Group, a Buffalo-based contractor started by former Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas and his wife, to build the new stadium in Orchard Park.

The Buffalo Bills are a professional American football team based in the Buffalo metropolitan area (US). The Bills compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference East division. The team plays its home games at the Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.

The 71,608-capacity Highmark Stadium is a stadium in Orchard Park, New York (US), in the Southtowns of the Buffalo metropolitan area. The stadium opened in 1973 as Rich Stadium and is the home venue of the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL).

The architectural firm Populous will design the new 1.35-million-square-foot facility with around 60,000 seats. The $1.4 billion stadium and surrounding parking lots will be on 242.5 acres of property, across the street from the current one on Abbott Road.

The Pegula Sports and Entertainment is an American sports and entertainment company based in Buffalo, New York (US). The company was established after multibillionaire Terry Pegula and his family combined their sports, property and entertainment assets into one parent company.

The Gilbane Building Company is an American privately-held construction and facility management company, with its headquarters in Providence, Rhode Island and more than 45 office locations in the United States and abroad.

New York-based Turner Construction is an American construction company with presence in 20 countries. It is a subsidiary of the German company Hochtief. It is the largest domestic contractor in the United States as of 2020, with revenue of $14.41 billion in 2020.

34 Group is a New York State (US) Certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) providing design, construction management and self-performed construction services.

‘The Buffalo News’ further stated that Gilbane and Turner both have worked on high-profile projects in the region, from Gilbane’s ongoing work at the Albright-Knox-Gundlach Buffalo Art Museum to Turner’s involvement as the contractor on the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital project.

Gilbane and Turner have partnered on 16 stadium projects, including both new and renovated facilities. They also have been involved in other major projects, including construction of a new spring training facility in Florida for the Major League Baseball (MLB) team Toronto Blue Jays and a $750 million public health laboratory project in Albany (City in New York State).

Remarked Ron Raccuia, the Bills’ Executive Vice-President, “We continue to partner with a first-class team of experts and professionals to bring our stadium to life. Gilbane-Turner has a tremendous wealth of experience in stadium construction, and we look forward to partnering with them.”

Exulted John LaRow, Gilbane’s Senior Vice-President, “We are tremendously excited to build the new home for the Buffalo Bills. This new NFL stadium will be a proud representation of the energy, passion and dedication of the Bills organization, the team, its fans, and the City of Buffalo. Our joint-venture team is committed to driving opportunities for diverse and local businesses and working with our partners to deliver this transformational project for Western New York.”

The Bills very recently released the first two renderings of what the new stadium will look like. The $1.4 billion stadium, located on a section of parking lots next to the current facility, is scheduled to open in 2026.

The selection of the contractors is an important step because it will allow work to begin on the logistics of getting construction started and lining up the dozens – if not hundreds – of suppliers, subcontractors and vendors that will be involved in the project.

The Erie County (New York State) Executive Mark Poloncarz said at least 10,000 building trades workers will be employed on the project.

While the stadium project is being funded with both public and private money, it is being managed as a private construction project, so the selection of the contractors was not subject to the same type of competitive bidding that a public project would be.

Commented Carlton E. Stewart, Turner’s Vice-President and General Manager, “The stadium will elevate the fan experience for this incredible team, and we will create opportunities and engagement for members of our community during construction.”

Turner – a subsidiary of Germany’s Hochtief – is a global company with 46 offices in the United States and 18 countries. It first opened an office in Buffalo in 1908, closed it after the Great Depression and reopened in 1994.

Its many regional projects have ranged from the construction of the Genesee Building in 1922 – now the Hyatt Regency Buffalo (hotel and conference center) – and Carborundum Company’s headquarters in Niagara Falls (waterfall in North America) in 1947 to more recent work on the Buffalo Niagara International Airport terminal, the Erie County Family Courthouse and the Gates Vascular Institute.

Gilbane, which has more than 50 offices worldwide, has done business in Buffalo since 1979. Its local projects have included the expansion of the Erie County Medical Center, the Northland Corridor campus and the Northland Central.

The 34 Group is a minority-owned telecommunications, engineering and construction firm that has worked with Gilbane on other projects.

The companies said they have launched a website, buffalobillsnewstadium.com, with information about the project and how vendors, suppliers, trade contractors, and professional service firms can learn about opportunities for work in the new stadium. The companies also said they plan to hold information sessions in the coming weeks.

The State will put $600 million toward the stadium’s upfront construction costs, while the county will contribute $250 million. The Bills and the NFL have agreed to pay the remaining construction costs, including any construction costs that exceed the $1.4 billion price tag.

Because the stadium agreement includes plans for a project labor agreement that requires contractors to pay prevailing wages – which are higher than those paid by many nonunion contractors – some construction firms contend they will be shut out of working on the new stadium.

Union officials, however, noted that the agreement doesn’t preclude nonunion firms from seeking work on the project. And Poloncarz has said the agreement will ensure that more of the construction work goes to the local workers.

Those workers are expected to come not only from the Buffalo-area building trades, but also some from Rochester, Central New York and Northwest Pennsylvania, as well as New York City, which may be able to supply needed iron workers.

The new stadium is being designed by architecture firm Populous and will be overseen by the Project Manager – Legends Project Development.

New York (US)-based the National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league that consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.

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