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Wrightnicks £40m project

CONTRACTS - NORTH -WEST

ERIC Wright is hoping to lock up a £40 million deal to redevelop a former police headquarters in Chester.

The Preston builder is preferred contractor for the work and is discussing terms with Chester developer Liberty Properties. Norwest Holst was the other firm chasing the scheme.

A source close to the work said: 'We know for a fact that the developer is now negotiating with Eric Wright.

'That doesn't mean that the deal is completely sealed but obviously, unless they botch up the negotiation, they should get it.

'On the other hand Norwest Holst is still waiting to hear back but I think they'll be waiting a long time.

'The bids went back on October 17 and if a firm hasn't heard anything back or been for an interview between now and then they will expect to have to start concentrating on the next project.' Liberty was selected as developer for the work by Chester City Council from about 20 competitors.

It plans to demolish the former Cheshire Constabulary headquarters, the 11-storey building that is currently at the site.

The 1960s-built block has been empty for two years and is considered an eyesore.

It will be replaced by a development of 35 apartments, a 68-bedroom hotel, 8,000 sq m of office space, a piazza, cafe, restaurant and car parking.

The construction package is estimated to be worth around £40 million and the client has put a value of around £50 million on the development once work is completed.

The council said it has accepted the planning application in principle and is now negotiating over what benefits the developer will give to the community in return for being granted permission to go ahead.

A council source said: 'We don't know how long it is going to take to sort out the section 106.

'We're negotiating over affordable housing at the moment.'

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