Design pick scheduled for Friday

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority just set a date for one of their most critical decisions. They're going to pick a designer of their new stadium on Friday.

"This is probably going to be one of the most significant decisions we make," said authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen.

The MSFA published the agenda for their special meeting today. The 5-member authority and the Vikings, by law, have to work together and agree on a design -- and presumably an architect as well. They’re currently reviewing proposals from five architectural firms behind closed doors. Candidates include Kansas City based Populous (designer of Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium and the Xcel Energy Center) and HNTB (designer of the new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara), Dallas-based HKS, (designer of the Cowboys stadium and the much-admired-in-Minnesota Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis),  EwingCole, from Philadelphia (and designer of Lincoln Field) and Los Angeles-based AECOM, which includes the former Ellerbe Beckett firm in Minneapolis. AECOM designed CenturyLink Field where the Seahawks play.

Kelm-Helgen was being coy about the decision today. "We have five firms that we have been looking at, meeting with, talking with," she said. "Trying to compare qualifications, experience, creativity, innovation, price, schedule, contract terms. ..."We will be voting on Friday on someone. We haven't yet, however, made that decision."

She wouldn't even commit to picking a single firm. She says a local firm will be paired with the winning bidder, for sure, 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."

Here's the lowdown on Friday's meeting:

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