ATLANTA -- As discussion heats up about how to fund a new $1 billion stadium for the Atlanta Falcons, work continues to select a lead architect.
Five architecture firms were announced Monday as finalists on the Georgia Procurement Registry:
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Ten firms had responded to a request for qualifications late last year.
"Each finalist will now prepare a Design Services Proposal and formal presentation that will include the first conceptual designs for the project," the Georgia World Congress Center Authority said in a statement. "Interviews will be scheduled in the next 30 days."
A decision on a lead architect could come in February. "However, the schedule for the remaining process is still to be determined," Richard Sawyer, project procurement director, said in an email.
Design fees could command 6 percent to 11 percent of the approximately $700 million construction budget, Sawyer said in an earlier interview.
The new stadium could be up to 1.8 million square feet, with seating for up to 80,000 fans. It would be built to meet the standards of the NFL, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Major League Soccer and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
Of the finalists, Kansas City, Mo.-based sports and entertainment architecture firm Populous has one of the largest stadium portfolios on the list. Populous already has been involved with the new Falcons project, conducting feasibility studies since 2010.
Populous has been the architect on about a dozen new NFL stadiums and renovations. Among those are Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers; FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins; and Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.
Populous also designed a replacement for Wembley Stadium, one of the most famous sporting and entertainment venues in Britain. It also worked on the Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 Games, as well as Atlanta's Philips Arena.
Another candidate is HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, a Dallas-based firm with a large office in Atlanta.
HKS has designed two of the most recent NFL stadiums: Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, and Cowboys Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Both feature retractable roofs - a key design element of the proposed new Falcons stadium.
HKS also recently was selected to design the new home of the Minnesota Vikings.
Another contender is Atlanta-based tvsdesign, which has teamed up with Atlanta-based Heery International Inc. and global firm Gensler to bid on the project.
Among its portfolio, tvs designed the Georgia World Congress Center and the Music City Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.
In joint ventures with others, Heery was the architect on the Georgia Dome, as well as Turner Field. It's also worked on several collegiate facilities, including the softball stadium at The University of Georgia.