Local firms to help make domed stadium a reality

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Thirty-three Birmingham-based design firms will help contribute ideas and plans for the city's domed stadium.

The lead architecture firm on the project, Populus, made the announcement Tuesday night before BJCC board members and city leaders.

BJCC board members said it was important for them to keep local companies involved in the process. Of the 33-member team, 24 of the firms are local, and 14 are Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB). Members of the local companies said it will be a great opportunity.

"I feel very fortunate," said Nolanda Bearden of NBH Group LLC, "I'm happy to have an opportunity to really have a lasting impact, no matter how small, in Birmingham."

The planned domed stadium will cost $530 million, be located adjacent to a proposed entertainment district along Richard Arrington Boulevard between 22nd Street North and 24th Street Northand, and will feature seating for up to 65,000.

Executive Director of the BJCC, Jack Fields, said it will help bring new trade shows, conventions and events to Birmingham.

"We can now bring in events that wouldn't come before," said Fields, "We can go after events that need a seating requirement of 20-30,000 in an arena setting. Above that, we could go after users who use the stadium setting."

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford said this domed stadium will be an important addition to the city.

"We talk everything to death in this community," said Langford, "How do you talk 16 years about a facility while you drive to other states and complain about what you don't have? Birmingham is growing up."

Construction is set to begin in 2011, with a planned opening in 2014.