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NYS Development board approves Bills lease agreement


A month after the Erie County Legislature unanimously approved the Bills new 10-year lease agreement, the Empire State Development Board has followed suit.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the adoption of the lease agreement in a press release Thursday.

The Empire State Development (ESD) Board of Directors approved the general project plan for renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park as well as the extension of the current lease with the Bills. The Erie County Stadium Corporation (ECSC), a subsidiary of ESD, met yesterday and recommended its approval to the Board.

These approvals signal another step toward finalizing the terms of the deal into a formal 10-year lease.

"The State remains committed to keeping the Bills in Buffalo," Governor Cuomo said. "The approvals by the Erie County Stadium Corporation and Empire State Development mark further progress in finalizing the agreement that we reached last year, so that this iconic team stays in the community – a victory for fans and the Western New York economy."

"I am pleased that the Erie County Stadium Corporation and Empire State Development met and approved the basic terms of the new 10-year lease," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. "These approvals clear away another hurdle as we move towards ensuring that the Bills continue to be a vital part of our community for many years to come."

The one major step that remains is passage of the lease agreement by the league's 31 other owners.

"We have to have it ratified at the league meeting in March," Bills President and CEO told "There are a couple of steps that need to take place, but I'm confident we'll get there."

The league vote on Buffalo's new lease agreement is expected to be a formality. The NFL owners meetings begin on March 25th.

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