The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says it is ready to name the architectural team to design a new NFL stadium for the Vikings.
The authority has scheduled a meeting at 8 a.m. Friday, with the only item on the agenda being to to discuss and vote approval on a design services agreement with at least one of the five firms that submitted proposals for the new billion-dollar stadium.
Contenders include Kansas City-based Populous, the firm that designed Target Field, the Xcel Energy Center and TCF Bank stadium; Philadelphia-based Ewing Cole worked on the stadiums where the Eagles play; and HNTB, also from Kansas City, which drew up the stadium currently under construction for the 49ers. Well-known local firm Ellerbe Beckett is affiliated with contender AECOM, which designed the football and soccer stadium in Seattle. The firms submitted proposals in August, including some preliminary renderings of their plans, although those haven't been made public.
The announcement would mean fees of $35 million to $50 million for the chosen firm, said Ted Mondale, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.
The five-member panel and the Vikings are working together on decision, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, Authority chairwoman.
"We have five firms that we have been looking at, meeting with, talking with, trying to compare qualifications, experience, creativity, innovation, price, schedule, contract terms," Kelm-Helgen said.
Legislation calls for the stadium authority and the Vikings to agree on a design. The Vikings have expressed preference for a stadium design with a retractable roof, or even what they call a retractable "feature." They are unsure if the stadium budget can accommodate that upgrade.
Kelm-Helgen was coy Tuesday about the decision and would not even commit to picking a single firm. She says a local firm will be paired with the winning bidder, and the authority, after taking bids on legal services, picked two separate law firms to handle its legal matters.
"Anything could be possible," Kelm-Helgen said. "It's been a very thorough process that we're going through... we're going to have to have a decision Friday morning."