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O’Rourke and Vinci face off for £300m Chester job

Laing O’Rourke and Vinci have been shortlisted for a £300m commercial development in Chester.

The two contractors are now in negotiations with the client, Cheshire and West Chester Council, as part of the two-stage tender process.

Construction News understands a preferred bidder will be announced in May or June.

The scheme will be built across two phases, with the first seeing the existing Chester Market replaced by a market hall and a 167-bedroom hotel built.

In the second phase the existing Forum shopping centre will be demolished and replaced by a commercial development featuring shops, restaurants and bars.

Cheshire and West Chester Council said the development will “transform the north-west quarter of Chester city centre.”

When the tender process kicked off last August the council had hoped a preferred bidder would be appointed by March and on site at the end of 2018.

CN understands the start date is likely to be pushed back because of the longer tender process.

The tender brief stated: “The project will seek contractors with significant experience in large, city centre development schemes who will also need to demonstrate their ability to work in a historic environment given the impact that the city’s history has on development, particularly with regard to its archaeology.”

Laing O’Rourke and Vinci declined to comment. 

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