Chorus hits a high note

CONTRACTS - CENTRAL L ONDON

FIT-OUT specialist Chorus is continuing its rise through the ranks after beating off major contractors to grab a deal to redevelop the Queen's grocer, Fortnum & Mason.

The famous food store in Piccadilly, in the heart of London's West End dates from the 1700s but its current home, which was built in 1926, is in need of a facelift. As a result the Buckingham Palace favourite will undergo a redevelopment worth around £24 million.

Bovis Lend Lease, InteriorExterior and Styles & Wood had all been on the shortlist, with Chorus the fourth firm in the running.

Chorus spokesman Noel DeBruin said: 'It's one of our biggest jobs yet and comes on the back of a few other big contracts.

'We'll be celebrating our 10th birthday in April this year and it's a great way to kick things off.

'It's all part of our strategy to become one of the big five fit-out specialists in London and things are on track for that ambition.' One contractor said: 'Fair play to them. Chorus is becoming a bigger and bigger threat in the fit-out market and when they keep picking up contracts like this people start to take a bit more notice.' Another said: 'I'm not at all surprised that Chorus has taken it. I was more surprised that Styles & Wood was on the shortlist as there was a lot of structural work in there.' The new design will include building a large atrium and a grand spiral staircase. All the floors will be partially refitted and there will be investment in new restaurants. There will also be major M&E work.

The job will be carried out in two phases so that the shop can remain open. The first will start this March and should be completed by October. The second will then start in January 2007 and finish the following October.

Architect Jestico+Whiles has teamed up with project manager Davis Langdon to design the scheme.

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