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Three sold on retail job

CONTRACTS WEST LONDON

A NEW phase of the £500 million revamp of London's world-famous Regent Street is about to be dished out to one of three firms.

The mixed-use development, one of the biggest ever in London's West End, has already started and is being let in five phases. One phase has now been completed and another two are under way, with two more planned.

Property owner Crown Estates received permission from Westminster City Council for the latest part of the scheme last December and is now close to choosing a contractor.

Kier, Mowlem and Sir Robert McAlpine are lined up for the £28 million contract and tenders are due to be returned in early autumn. Work will start at the beginning of November.

The contract is for 83-97 Regent Street, as well as parts of Vine Street, one of the thoroughfare's side streets.

One of the contractors said: 'Although this is a fairly big contract, the amount of work coming up is even greater. Everybody is going to be going for it. The logistics of working in central London can sometimes be pretty tough but this job seems to be worth it.' The area had been home to a police station, a bar and retail outlets. They will be replaced with new 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.

Further work will be let this autumn and the entire programme will last around seven years.

The plan is to entirely refurbish the southern section of Regent Street, as well as the side streets of Vine Street, Swallow Street, Glasshouse Street and Air Street.

Crown Estates, which announced this month that it had made a prof it of £184 million, owns a 1.5 mile-long section of Regent Street from Portland Place in the north to Piccadilly Circus in the south. It is one of the most prestigious portfolios in the property market and is home to 150 retailers.

The firm had held off any work due to the restrictions of the 100-year leases the properties are rented under but, as those run out, it is now starting to bring the area up to date with modern retail standards.

The final phase will be an area known as the Quadrant, for which planning permission is being sought. That part of the scheme has received the most criticism, due to the planned demolition of the Regent's Palace Hotel.

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