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Deals point to office recovery

CONTRACTS LONDON

SIR ROBERT McAlpine has bagged a brace of office deals in London worth £60 million.

The largest job is a £40 million scheme for developer British Land at Farringdon in the City of London. The firm has pipped Bovis Lend Lease and InteriorExterior for the West Ludgate project on Farringdon Road.

The deal was suspended for almost two years because of a slump in the office market. Bovis was the only original bidder to pitch for the work after Carillion and Laing O'Rourke declined to bid second time around.

Demolition contractor Keltbray has begun tearing down the existing building, called Caroone House, and McAlpine will begin putting up the new 10-storey building next year with work finishing in spring 2007. It will feature 12,000 sq m of office space.

In the West End, Sir Robert McAlpine has pipped Laing O'Rourke to a £20 million office deal for insurance giant Standard Life.

The project includes building a new eight-storey block that will house over 7,000 sq m of office space and 3,000 sq m of retail space. It will be made of Portland stone to blend in with the surrounding areas and will include a rooftop pavilion.

The development will straddle some of London's most famous addresses including Piccadilly and Jermyn Street.

Standard Life believes Sir Robert McAlpine's win is a further sign that confidence is returning to the capital's office market. Investments director Mike Hannigan said:

'We anticipate there will have been a recovery in the West End office market by the time the development completes.'

Work will start this April with completion set for the middle of 2007.