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Four firms chase Holborn retender

A high-profile job in central London has been retendered after two of the three shortlisted bidders pulled out.
Property firm Ebble Developments is planning to convert a disused Victorian building in High Holborn into a £25 million mixed-use block.

The Wiltshire company was granted planning permission for the work at 311-314 High Holborn and 67-72 Chancery Lane by the Corporation of London last year.

Demolition work has already begun. But the project hit problems when Costain and Haymills pulled out of the deal because it was advertised as a single-stage job.

That left Laing O'Rourke as the sole bidder. Now Ebble has gone back to the drawing board and decided to use a two-stage tender for the £20 million main contract.

One contractor said: 'The risk with the original contract was immense, so there wasn't a lot of interest.

'Now that the client has had a rethink the market has pricked its ears up again and piled in enthusiastically.'

Laing O'Rourke has made it onto the list again, along with HBG, InteriorExterior and Skanska. Costain and Haymills are not involved this time.

Tenders went in last Friday and interviews will be wrapped

up this week. A winner of the contract is expected to be announced before Christmas.

The development, designedby Sidell Gibson Architects, will comprise office space, some retail units and 10 flats. The site is in a conservation area so 50 per cent of the Victorian facades will be retained while new facades will be designed as replicas to fit in with the current architecture.

Main construction work, which was originally planned

to start next spring, is due to begin some time next year. Completion has been pencilled in for the end of 2007.

Andrew Hankinson