CARILLION is top of the list of contenders to build a £200 million tower that will be the tallest residential building in the UK.
Developer Inacity is in the final stages of design before it appoints a contractor for the Inacity Tower, to be built near Piccadilly station in Manchester. Several firms are hoping to grab the deal but Carillion is emerging as firm favourite.
A source close to the scheme said: 'Carillion and Inacity have discussed the project.
That may surprise some but it shouldn't. If you're building a tower in the north-west, it's Carillion you turn to.' A source at Inacity confirmed it has in mind which firm it would prefer to use for the massive project.
Carillion had previously ruled itself out for workload reasons but a source at the contractor said it had reversed that decision. It is currently building towers in Liverpool and Manchester for developer Beetham.
Rivals for the Inacity deal are thought to include Bovis Lend Lease, which is building Bridgewater Tower in Leeds, Laing O'Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine.
One said: 'We're just keeping our powder dry at the moment. Although Carillion is the favourite and has discussed the project with Inacity we think there is always a reason to stay interested. At this stage the favourite could be overtaken if the developer's eyes are suitably caught.' But one source at another contractor, which will not be going for the deal, said:
'Others may look like they're interested but I severely doubt they have any chance.
You can't just jump into that market. It's very different building a series of towers down in London to building just one in the Manchester.' Plans for the 188 m-high tower, which has been designed by architect Woods Bagot, were approved by the city council last March.
It will be accompanied by two adjoining medium-rise blocks and altogether the development will include 700 apartments, a 220-room four-star international hotel and 80,000 sq ft of retail space, restaurants and bars.
There will also be regeneration in the area to create plazas and public spaces.