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Sir Robert is new kid on the Block

CONTRACTS - LONDON

SIR ROBERT McAlpine has bagged a £30 million retail development on London's Regent Street.

The firm is currently negotiating with developer Crown Estates for the revamp of an area known as Block W1. The contract is part of a £500 million revamp of the whole area, one of the biggest ever in the capital's West End.

Tenders for the latest package were returned by Sir Robert McAlpine, Kier and Mowlem in early autumn but McAlpine has emerged as the winner.

One rival said: 'McAlpine is in talks with Crown Estates over the deal. They've still got to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's, but they've got the job. The rest of us will have to wait for the next phase.' The contract is for 83-97 Regent Street, as well as parts of Vine Street, one of the thoroughfare's side streets. Work will start at the beginning of next month.

The area had been home to a police station, a bar and retail outlets.

They will now be replaced with shops, offices and some residential units. The facades will be retained but the area behind has already been demolished in preparation for the start of construction.

The entire project, which will last around seven years, is being let in five phases, one of which has already been completed and two of which are under way.

When finished, the southern section of Regent Street, as well as Vine Street and three other side streets ? Swallow Street, Glasshouse Street and Air Street ? will be refurbished.

Crown Estates had held off any work due to the restrictions of the 100-year leases the properties are rented under. These are now running out, allowing redevelopment work to get under way.

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