After weeks of anticipation, the architectural firm that will design the new home for the Minnesota Vikings is expected to be named Friday.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which will oversee construction of the $975 million downtown Minneapolis project, has scheduled an 8 a.m. meeting Friday at the Metrodome to announce the decision.
"We're not quite there yet," Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president of public affairs and stadium development, said on Tuesday. "But our hope is to wrap it up by Friday. We think we have the information we need. We have an aggressive timeline and want to move forward as quick as possible."
The five national firms, most with local ties, competing for the $30 million to $50 million contract are:
HKS Inc. of Dallas, which designed NFL stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts.
Ewing Cole, a Philadelphia-based firm that drew plans for the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and Giants.
HNTB Corp. of Kansas City, architect for the $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., being built for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
AECOM, a Los Angeles firm that designed a 67,000-seat home for the Seattle Seahawks.
Populous, a Kansas-City based architect that designed the Twins' Target Field, Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota football team.
The authority and Vikings interviewed firm representatives this month and have recently reviewed and evaluated bids.
Michele Kelm-Helgen, the authority chairwoman, said the authority and team are "trying to drill down on financials and qualifications and schedules, and are just really working through things in order to make the best decision."
Kelm-Helgen said that while a design firm will be chosen this week, it is probably too soon to unveil a definitive rendering showing what the stadium will look like or whether the final design will include a retractable roof, wall or window, a feature that the Vikings have long favored.
She said the authority and the team are focusing more on "qualifications and experience and technical expertise" than drawings.
Groundbreaking for the stadium, to be built on and near the Metrodome site, is planned for summer 2013. The Vikings hope it is open for the 2016 NFL season.
Richard Meryhew 612-673-4425