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Another big retail deal for Sir Robert

CONTRACTS

SIR ROBERT McAlpine has finished its Christmas shopping early this year by bagging its second major shopping development in a week.

The firm looks likely to wrap up the £180 million Shires project in Leicester before the festive period, adding to the £250 million Broadmeed development in Bristol.

Neither deal has been signed but the firm's competition on both jobs is understood to be packing its bags.

Bovis Lend Lease had been McAlpine's only competitor for Broadmeed after Laing O'Rourke pulled out.

Sir Robert McAlpine had faced the same two firms for the Shires job but both Bovis and Laing O'Rourke are believed to have been d ropped.

The two deals are being let by Hammerson, which is partnered by retail developer Hermes at the Leicester scheme.

A source at one contractor said: 'We think McAlpine is confident on Leicester. But nothing is sure until everything is signed and sealed.' Designed as an extension to the existing centre, the proposed 60,000 sq m mixed-use Shires development will more than double the retail space at the centre.

Retailer John Lewis will occupy the flagship 22,000 sq m department store.

National Amusements is the main leisure anchor for the scheme. The US firm is planning a 12-screen 'Cinema de Lux' multiplex.

Chapman Taylor Architects is the masterplanner for the project, which has a total value of £350 million. It includes three residential sites comprising 118 apartments. Three listed buildings will also be restored for restaurant use.

The current Shires will be completely refurbished.

The scheme was granted planning consent by Leicester City Council in January and demolition work has already begun. Main construction work will begin early next year.

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