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Exterior leads £60m race

CONTRACTS WEST LONDON

A PRESTIGIOUS £60 million residential and office deal in Kensington, west London, looks destined to go to InteriorExterior.

A source linked to the scheme believes the firm is set to pip Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine and Multiplex in the race to become preferred contractor.

The deal has been shrouded in secrecy. Client Knightsbridge Estates is understood to be a holding company set up by an anonymous Arab investor and insiders at the shortlisted firms say they have had little indication of who will get the job. But a source close to the deal said: 'Exterior is looking pretty good at the moment. I'd be surprised if they don't get the nod.'

The contract covers two buildings, one residential and one commercial, opposite the famous Harrods department store.

If InteriorExterior is successful it will come as a blow for Multiplex, which had been seen as favourite.

The Australian firm is already working on a £110 million residential scheme nearby and only two weeks ago was tipped to pick up the Knightsbridge job.

Carillion was also invited to tender but rivals say the firm was ruled out several weeks ago.

The two buildings, designed by Canadian architect SMC Zeidler, will be nine storeys high and take just over two years to build.The commercial element is understood to include a luxury gym.

EC Harris is cost consultant, with engineering support provided by the Waterman Partnership.

Work is expected to begin on site in August.