Balfour Beatty has entered the race to build part of ABP’s £1.7bn Royal Albert Dock development in east London.
The contractor will take on Brookfield Multiplex to bag the job. The winning bidder will work with Chinese firm Citic Construction to construct the £200m first phase of the scheme.
ABP chose Citic as its main contractor last October, under the condition it partnered with a UK firm.
The job, which features around 700,000 sq ft of office and retail space, will mark Citic’s UK construction debut.
ABP could hand work on future phases of the Royal Albert Dock to Citic without a UK partner given ”the right conditions”, according to a source close to the process.
The client also has ambitions to expand outside of the capital, with ABP’s chairman Xu Weiping previously telling Construction News that he was interested in cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Oxford.
Balfour Beatty will now go up against Brookfield Multiplex for the contract. Along with Multiplex, Laing O’Rourke and Mace were also on the original shortlist, but have since pulled out of the race.
A decision is expected in the next few weeks, with the winner taking on the role of principal subcontractor.
Civil engineering contractor Carey Group is already carrying out enabling works, which will continue throughout June.
ABP and Balfour Beatty declined to comment.
This is the second high-profile job with a Chinese client for which Balfour Beatty and Brookfield Multiplex are competing.
As Construction News revealed in March, the pair are in the running to replace Interserve on Wanda One’s One Nine Elms scheme in Vauxhall, London.
Interserve was selected as preferred bidder as part of a joint venture with China State Construction Engineering Corporation 8 in April 2015.
The deal collapsed in March this year after months of negotiations.
The race is now on to get a main contractor appointed, with one senior-level source close to the project having previously told Construction News it would be a “struggle”.
The client’s target completion date is 2018.
“[It’s] a really tight programme and I would have thought that’s blown already, without the main contractor [changing]. It’s really going to be a struggle,” the source said.