ATLANTA -State officials approved an agreement with a design firm for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium on Tuesday.
A tentative agreement for the Kansas City-based 360 Architecture was approved by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. That same group gave its thumbs up to the funding plan for the retractable roof stadium, as did the Atlanta City Council and the city's economic development arm.
"I'd like to think that people will really get excited and embrace this. Atlanta deserves a landmark building. I think there is every opportunity to make an icon and a building people will come from around just to see," said Bill Johnson of 360 Architecture.
The team is footing most of the $1 billion bill, with the city chipping in $200 million of hotel-motel tax revenue.
When the stadium deal was first announced, Falcons' owner Arthur Blank promised an iconic building. Before the city council vote, Benjamin Flowers of the Georgia Tech School of Architecture encouraged council members to hold stadium planners to that word.
"They don't call stadiums secular cathedrals for nothing. I think you want that to be a place that people see as a celebration of Atlanta," said Flowers.
360 Architecture has designed several sports facilities around the world, including MetLife Stadium -- home of the New York Giants and New York Jets.
"I think what distinguished 360 was really their whole approach of challenging everything about stadium development in the U.S. and how you can embrace technology, the roof structure," said Frank Poe of the GWCCA.
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority agreed to a maximum $35 million design fee for the firm.
The goal is to have a new stadium ready by the 2017 football season.
"It should be something that draws people to Atlanta. People should want to come so they can get a look at the stadium, get inside the stadium. And by the same token, it has to move the needle with respect to the fan experience," said Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons.
Plans are also underway to hire a general contractor to building the stadium.
A final decision has not been made on a site for the new stadium. Two locations near the Georgia Dome remain under consideration.