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The five architectural firms bidding to win the design job for the new Vikings stadium showed some of their past projects in the Metrodome Thursday, September 6, 2012.

Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Choice of Vikings stadium designer likely 'soon'

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW
  • Star Tribune
  • September 14, 2012 - 11:51 PM

A decision on who will design the new Vikings stadium is still probably a week or more away, according to the chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is working with the team to oversee construction of the nearly billion-dollar project in downtown Minneapolis.

Michele Kelm-Helgen said Friday that a decision on the architectural and engineering hire should come "fairly soon," and probably no later than the authority's next meeting on Oct. 5.

"We are staying on schedule and meeting our schedule," she said at the authority's Friday meeting. "But we are being thoughtful on this decision and we are doing our due diligence to make the best decision possible."

Initially, the board and team hoped to name the architect by Friday, but Kelm-Helgen said the authority, Vikings and team owners are still sifting through the proposals and discussing each bid.

Five national architectural firms, all of whom have been involved in designing NFL stadiums over the past decade, have applied for the job.

The candidates: Ewing Cole of Philadelphia; HKS Inc. of Dallas; AECOM of Los Angeles; and Populous and HNTB Corp., both of Kansas City.

The authority and Vikings interviewed representatives from each of the firms last week.

"It's a major decision and we want to get it right," said Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs and stadium development for the Vikings.

Groundbreaking on the stadium is planned for next summer. The Vikings hope to open the facility in time for the 2016 NFL season.

In other action Friday, the authority selected two local law firms -- Dorsey & Whitney and Fabyanske, Westra, Hart & Thomson -- to represent it on the stadium project, subject to final negotiations by its staff.

Dorsey & Whitney, headquartered in Minneapolis, has been involved in several major Twin Cities projects, including all three homes for the Minnesota Twins -- Metropolitan Stadium, the Metrodome and Target Field. The firm also worked development deals involving Target Center, the IDS Center and City Center in downtown Minneapolis.

Former vice president Walter Mondale is a senior counsel with Dorsey. His son, Ted Mondale, is the executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

The Fabyanske firm, also headquartered in Minneapolis, has specialized in construction and real estate for more than 30 years. Projects it has worked include the Minneapolis Convention Center, the reconstruction of the I-35W bridge, the Hiawatha light-rail line and the Mall of America.

Dean Thomson, a shareholder, said Friday of the Vikings stadium development, "That's the type of project our firm was formed to handle. This is what we want to do."

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

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