by: Jim Strickland Updated:ATLANTA —
A Kansas City firm is the top choice to design a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.
360 Architecture designed MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, and will now likely design the new stadium in downtown Atlanta.
Word of the choice first came as a short posting on a state website, just one day after five firms completed a series of interviews last week with the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center.
Until they strike a deal, no one from the firm, the state or the team will comment.
Channel 2's Jim Strickland found Auburn University officials were more than ready to talk and show off 360's work on the school's new basketball arena.
360 Architecture beat out three other firms to design the building.
"They just blew us away. They really overwhelmed us with their approach to the design," said Auburn's sports construction director Randy Byars.
Auburn Arena seats 9,100 fans, making it less than 15 percent of the capacity of the new stadium for Atlanta.
360 and an engineering team will try to squeeze a retractable roof venue into 16 acres south of the current Georgia Dome.
Marching orders from team owner Arthur Blank demand the building be "iconic."
"We have seen other work that they've done," said Auburn campus architect Greg Parsons. "If someone says make it iconic, it'll be iconic."
The Auburn building came in $7 million under budget.
The GWCC board is set to meet April 30 and may consider a full contract. Construction on the new stadium is expected to begin in the summer of 2014, with the stadium opening three years later.