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Five in line for £67m museum

CONTRACTS - LIVERPOOL

FIVE firms are expected to pick up tender documents to build a museum celebrating Liverpool's cultural and historical past.

National Museums Liverpool has already appointed Danish architect 3XN to design the building, which will see the current museum replaced by a 10,000 sq m, £67 million structure next to the Port of Liverpool building.

Laing O'Rourke, HBG, Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and Bovis Lend Lease are all hoping to see tenders land on their desks next month.

Bovis is believed to be an early favourite since it has already been working with the client on preliminary works at the site.

The new development will be a 24.4 m high structure on Mann Island alongside the three graces at Pier Head. The X-shaped museum will be built on part of the site once earmarked for the failed Fourth Grace scheme.

The development will replace the existing Museum of Liverpool Life, located next to the Albert Docks, and create an improved exhibition building on the World Heritage Site at Mann Island.

The Northwest Regional Development Agency approved initial plans for the development but project manager Mott MacDonald is still waiting for the city council to give it the green light.

Tender documents are due to be sent out next month. Construction will start in the first half of 2006 and finish in time for Liverpool's year long stint as European Capital of Culture in 2008.