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Balfour takes £100m office project

Balfour Beatty has pipped rival HBG to build the latest office block proposed for the City of London.
The firm will construct the £100 million scheme at the western end of Holborn Viaduct on Charterhouse Street for Birmingham developer Castlemore Securities.

Whoever eventually takes up occupancy of the 20,000 sq m building will have some illustrious neighbours. Just across Holborn Circus stands the imposing glass-clad headquarters of supermarket giant J Sainsbury while up the road is the capital's well-known jewellery quarter, Hatton Garden and the famous Smithfield meat market.

The scheme is Castlemore's first development in London and follows its £26 million deal to buy the corner site from previous owner, South African diamond miner and retailer De Beers, in 2002.

Under the plans, an existing 16,000 sq m office block, which was built back in the 1950s, will be

demolished this October. Main construction work will start shortly afterwards. The new building is due to be finished by spring 2008.

A project source said: 'This is a huge scheme which will change the whole area around Holborn. It will be a landmark project for the area.'

The building on the site is still in use and a number of IT businesses will be forced to look for new offices when the redevelopment begins.

Castlemore secured planning permission in early 2004 and has since brought APS on board as project manager, while the quantity surveyor is Cyril Sweett.

Balfour Beatty and HBG were the only firms shortlisted for this scheme, which is the first stage of a new master plan being drawn up for the area around Holborn Viaduct.

This will see a revamp of a part of London littered with a number of ageing buildings. A few hundred yards away on New Fetter Lane Sir Robert McAlpine has begun work on a huge £200 million office scheme for Land Securities which involves replacing a series of 1960s office blocks with more modern buildings.

Accountancy firm Deloitte will take up most of the 62,000 sq m space.

by Stephanie Hendries