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NBBJ Sports Co-Founder to Quit, Form Consulting Firm

Stadium architect says he'll work with teams and other clients in the development of arenas.


One of the key partners of Los Angeles-based NBBJ Sports & Entertainment--one of the nation's largest designers of stadiums and athletic facilities--said he will be leaving the architectural practice to start his own consulting firm.

Michael Hallmark announced his resignation only a few months before his firm's most prominent local project--Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles--will open as the home to the Lakers and Clippers basketball team and the Kings ice hockey franchise.

"He's one of the top sports [architects] in the country," said Robert Lyons, director of operations for Rossetti Associates Architects, a Los Angeles area firm. "It's a significant move."

Hallmark, 45, said his new consulting firm will focus on helping sports teams, municipalities and other clients in the development of sports arenas, including the selection of architects. His resignation from NBBJ takes effect July 1.

"I will be more aligned with owner issues than the architectural issues," said Hallmark, who will continue to work with NBBJ on a consulting basis.

Hallmark and NBBJ officials said his departure will not have any impact on any current projects, which include plans for an ambitious remodeling of the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Hallmark formed NBBJ Sports & Entertainment, part of Seattle-based NBBJ, in 1995 with partners Dan Meis and Ron Turner. Meis and Turner will remain with the firm, which has grown from a handful of employees to more than 70 architects and staff members.

NBBJ Sports & Entertainment is one of the few major sports architecture firms that is not headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., where a group of firms--including HOK Sport and Ellerbee Becket--dominate the design of sporting facilities nationwide. NBBJ's location in the heart of the entertainment industry has clearly influenced its work, said Meis.

"We noticed the emergence of entertainment as important to sports," Meis said. "It was a calculated decision on our part to be in one of the entertainment capitals. The background of the talent we recruit in Los Angeles is very much different" from that in Kansas City.

NBBJ has also designed two professional baseball stadiums--Safeco Field in Seattle and Miller Park in Milwaukee--as well as Paul Brown Stadium, home to pro football's Cincinnati Bengals.

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