Cuomo: Bills lease talks “complicated,” but “good progress” made

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said there has been “good progress” during lease negotiations with the Buffalo Bills, but cautioned that an agreement has still not been reached.

Cuomo and his office were part of formal talks with the Bills organization and Erie County officials over the weekend. The National Football League team’s 15-year lease for county-owned Ralph Wilson Stadium expires in July, though a one-year extension has been agreed to in principle.

“We have made good progress in the conversations, but this is a complicated transaction,” Cuomo told reporters Monday. “It’s a lot of money, and it is very important for Western New York.”

Bills officials are believed to be seeking state money to help finance about $200 million in upgrades to the Orchard Park, Erie County, stadium, which first opened in 1973. State officials, meanwhile, are looking for monetary protections should the team decide to relocate prior to the end of the lease agreement.

A Bills spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

While Cuomo sounded an optimistic tone, he cautioned that a final deal has still been out of reach.

“We are making good progress and the conversations have been productive, but we do not have an agreement,” he said.

(AP Photo / Bill Wippert)

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