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Balfour Beatty wins £20m office scheme after strong competition

CONTRACTS MANCHESTER

A BIG-NAME battle for a £20 million office project in the north-west is over, with Balfour Beatty emerging victorious.

The BB team has pipped both Laing O'Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine to scoop the Amethyst House deal in Manchester for Haydock-based developer Langtree Property.

One project insider said: 'It's not signed yet but it looks very promising for Balfour Beatty.'

The firm will now raze the existing 8,000 sq m, six-storey building to the ground and replace it with a 9,300 sq m development.

The scheme, known as Forty Spring Gardens, is dependent on planning permission form the city council and a refurbishment plan is pencilled in as a back-up.

The developer bought the building for £5 million from Isis Property ahead of rival Frontier Estates in March 2003.

Designed by Aedas Architects, the project includes retail and leisure on the ground floor and is arranged around a glazed atrium.

The project is considered a major part of Manchester's push for more office space after concerns that the city could be being overlooked by companies.

Work on Langtree's first venture into the city's office market will start in March.Completion is due by 2006.