Five firms price Cheapside deal

CONTRACTS - CITY OF LONDON

MORE EVIDENCE of the resurgent London office market has emerged with five firms being shortlisted to price a deal opposite St Paul's Cathedral.

Among the deals that have come up for grabs in recent weeks is the plan to revamp the former home of the London Stock Exchange in the heart of the Square Mile at a cost of £75 million.

And across the City of London Bovis Lend Lease is being tipped to pick up a £100 million deal at Bishopsgate.Earlier this year Sir Robert McAlpine picked up a brace of deals worth £60 million in the capital.

McAlpine is one of the firms that is now pricing the latest deal at Cheapside, also in the City.

The £50 million development has also attracted bids from Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Mowlem and Skanska.

The five returned tenders last week with client London-based property and investment company St Martins Property Group due to interview up to three firms before making a decision this summer.Work will start this October for completion in early 2008.

One bidder said: 'It has been very competitive so far and it will only become more so.'

The scheme at 150 Cheapside, once the address for the European office for American Sewing Machines, is located next to St Paul's Underground station. Demolition of the existing building, now home to the Kuwait investment office, is slated for this September.

The new eight-storey building is expected to become the headquarters of a financial company and will be fully glazed.

Although it has been in the pipeline for a while the Corporation of London only granted detailed planning permission in February this year.

Designed by Aukett, the only stock Exchange listed architect, the building will run to nearly 19,200 sq m and also include half a dozen retail units.These will front onto St Martin's le Grand and Foster Lane.

andrew. hankinson@emap. com

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