The Buffalo Bills released the first renderings of its new stadium Thursday, a $1.4 billion project approved back in March. Groundbreaking should begin in 2023 and the stadium should open in 2026.

Images released on the Bills’ Twitter account feature a projected internal and external view of the open-air stadium in Orchard Park, across the street from Highmark Stadium, Buffalo’s current venue. Originally called Rich Stadium, it has hosted the Bills since 1973.

Many of the design choices were made to battle precipitation and wind, common issues in upstate New York. A canopy surrounding the stadium will cover most of the seats, while the exterior will be arranged in a way to prevent swirling winds reaching field-level.

Architectural firm Populous and consulting group Legends are working with the team to design the stadium. According to ESPN, the Bills’ goal to achieve “a visual identity that reflects some of the historical architecture of Buffalo, while also delivering a modern appearance.”

Though negotiations on the project have not yet been finalized, the deadline was recently pushed back a second time to allow the state time to finish its environmental impact study. This also gives both sides more time to finish what has been a slow process to finalize costs.

The $1.4 billion price tag is unlikely to change significantly, but the cost to the state for the stadium will be significantly mitigated by public funding. According to the deal Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) proposed in April, taxpayers will pay $850 million for the new venue, leaving the state to pay $600 million and Erie County to pay $250 million.

Ron Raccuia, executive vice president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, said on WGR 550 in Buffalo Thursday that progress on the stadium has been steady.

“We’re taking our time. We’re working well with the state and the county,” Raccuia said. “We’ve got another deadline. We’ll continue to work every day to get it to the finish line. That’s really where we’re at.”

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