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BIM to be pushed on Balfour Beatty Crown Estate and Oxford Properties scheme

Balfour Beatty has been awarded an £87m contract for the commercial redevelopment of the St James’s Market area in London.

The Crown Estate and Oxford Properties are redeveloping the two-block St James’s Market area between London’s Regent Street and Haymarket in a 50:50 joint venture.

Balfour Beatty has been awarded the first £87m share of the redevelopment, which will be worth £320m over a 10-year period.

The contractor will rebuild 260,000 sq ft of new commercial and retail space across two eight-storey blocks.

The first block Balfour Beatty will rebuild includes a heritage façade that will be repaired and restored, while the second block will incorporate a curved glass and Portland stone wall, installed in sections using a tower crane.

It will also create a new 10,000 sq ft piazza including seating, planters and wall-mounted lighting, providing a social space for visitors.

Balfour Beatty will use 4D building information modelling to manage safe and efficient construction in the confined and densely populated shopping area around Regent Street.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Andrew McNaughton said that while working within the capital “invariably presents its challenges”, the investment the contractor had made in digital technology and modular construction would “come to the fore” on the scheme.

The contractor will use offsite manufacturing to provide modular mechanical and electrical services, which it said would reduce time on site, improve safety and reduce the overall construction programme.

Overall, the £320m investment will transform an area described by the Crown Estate as a “run-down back street service yard and taxi ‘rat-run’” with 210,000 sq ft of office and 50,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space over 10 years, along with half an acre of public realm improvements and a 10,000 sq ft pedestrian square.

Crown Estate

The St James’s Market joint venture is the third major partnership The Crown Estate has established for its central London holdings in recent years.

In July, it completed construction of the £100m St James’s Gateway redevelopment, a 50:50 limited partnership with Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan and the first scheme The Crown Estate completed in partnership with a major institutional investor.

The Crown Estate posted a profit of £253m in June, up 5 per cent on last year, with its capital value rising by 7 per cent to more than £8.6bn.

Its total property value stood at £8.1bn, exceeding the £8bn mark for the first time.


Work is due to begin on site this autumn and be completed by summer 2015.

Crown Estate head of development Alastair Smart said the St James’s Market scheme represented the “most ambitious redevelopment St James’s has seen in the last century”.

He added that the appointment of an “experienced and skilled contractor” in Balfour Beatty was a big step towards completing the project.


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