ARDMORE has sailed ahead of the competition in the race for a £60 million scheme at Portsmouth Historic Dockyards.
The firm is believed to be Crest Nicholson's favourite, leaving Laing O'Rourke and Taylor Woodrow in its wake.
The huge scheme comprises 542 flats, commercial units and an 18-storey tower.
The site, owned by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, is currently used as a car park for visitors to the dockyard, which is home to the Royal Naval Museum.
Work is due to start in August, subject to planning agreements, and to finish by February 2009.