CARILLION looks to be easing into pole position in the race for a major £30 million residential project in Manchester.
According to insiders, the firm is favourite to take the Great Northern Tower scheme - unofficially known as the Slot - ahead of opposition from Mowlem and Laing.
One rival said: 'We have been hearing whispers for a week or two that they are only talking to Carillion. They're certainly not talking to us.'
Bovis Lend Lease was also originally lined up to price the scheme for George Wimpey City but considered it too risky and returned the bid documents to the client in January.
The building, designed by architect Assael, is sited on Watson Street between the Great Northern Warehouse and the G-Mex complex in the city centre. The 24-storey tower will be 72 m high and features 227 apartments. There are plans for a health club, retail units and restaurants at ground level.
The scheme includes a basement car park, enabling works, infrastructure, drainage service engineering and landscaping.
Construction work is due to begin in July, lasting three years. Manchester City Council granted detailed planning permission to the scheme in September 2000.
Mowlem is set for better luck on a £20 million hotel and office scheme in Gateshead from developer City & Northern.
The firm is understood to be the favourite to pick up the deal on South Shore Road near the new Baltic Exchange. But Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council has yet to grant permission to the development. Construction work on the two-year project is unlikely to begin before September.