ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — New York state, Erie County and the Buffalo Bills have reached an agreement on a new stadium in Orchard Park.

State officials said Monday the new facility will cost approximately $1.4 billion with the majority of funding coming from taxpayers. A total of $600 million will come from New York state, with $250 million from Erie County. The dollar amount is considered to be the largest public commitment for an NFL facility. 

The NFL and the Buffalo Bills would commit $550 million in financing. Under the proposed agreement, the Bills will be responsible for covering any costs that run over the budget.

The proposed 60,000-plus-seat facility will be built in Lot 3, which is currently across the street from Highmark Stadium.

The length of the lease is reportedly 30 years, keeping the Bills in Buffalo for generations to come. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the priority has always been to keep the Bills in Western New York while making smart investments.

"I went into these negotiations trying to answer three questions - how long can we keep the Bills in Buffalo, how can we make sure this project benefits the hard-working men and women of Western New York and how can we get the best deal for taxpayers?" Gov. Hochul said. "I'm pleased that after months of negotiations, we've come out with the best answers possible - the Bills will stay in Buffalo for another 30 years, the project will create 10,000 union jobs and New Yorkers can rest assured that their investment will be recouped by the economic activity the team generates."   

The owners of the Buffalo Bills, Terry and Kim Pegula, released a statement saying:

"We took another step today to solidify our collective goal of constructing a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park. We are grateful for the time, efforts and unwavering commitment made by Governor Hochul and her team throughout this process. While there are a few more yards to go before we cross the goal line, we feel our public-private partnership between New York State, Erie County led by County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and the National Football League will get us there."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also addressed the news in a statement:

"The Buffalo Bills are ingrained in the heart and soul of every Western New Yorker. It was essential that we entered into an agreement that ensured the team stayed in Buffalo, but was also a fair deal for the people of Erie County and New York. That is exactly the agreement that has been reached: the Bills will play in Buffalo for the next 30 years; 10,000 building trades union jobs will work on the project; and the county will no longer contribute annual operating and capital expenses, thereby saving county taxpayers tens of millions through the life of the lease. Thank you to Governor Kathy Hochul, as well as Terry and Kim Pegula, for working very hard these past months to reach an equitable agreement for all."

Negotiations between the Bills, the state and Erie County have been going on since last summer.

Although the taxpayer burden of 60% is considered high, the agreed upon funding falls in line historically. The state and county have shared about 73% of the cost to build, maintain and upgrade the Bills’ existing facility, now called Highmark Stadium, which opened in 1973. It was considered too expensive to renovate, according to a state study in November.

Without going into detail, Hochul said the project will create 10,000 union jobs with the commitment recouped by the economic activity generated by the team. The state previously projected the Bills — the only NFL team actually based in New York — generate $27 million in direct annual income for the state.

The announcement came as the the Bills’ stadium proposal was approved at the NFL’s owners meetings in Florida. Owners also approved granting the Bills what’s called a $200 million G4 loan to go toward construction costs.

Under the G4 program rules, Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula are required to at least match the loan.

The NFL’s $200 million contribution was already factored in as part of the funding package.

The Bills project the new facility could be built in time for the start of the 2026 season. The Bills’ existing lease with the state and county runs through July 2023.

As part of the new agreement, the state will take over as the sole lease-holder of the stadium after previously sharing that role with the county.

In anticipation of the agreement, the Bills already hired the architectural firm Populous to begin rendering plans and designs, which are expected to be completed by fall. Although the stadium will not feature a roof, the Bills plan to have 80% of seating protected from the elements.