TWO CONTRACTORS are neckand-neck in the race to build a £62 million music centre at Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
Sources close to the project say client Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council has pared its choices down to Sir Robert McAlpine and Carillion.
It is understood that the two other contenders - Laing and HBG - are now out of the running.
The plan is to let the deal as a fixed price contract, with work on site starting early next year. Completion is due in summer 2002.
The centrepiece of the 16,000 sq m building will be the main concert hall, with seating for 1,650 people. The complex will also include a 450-seat hall, a rehearsal hall, a music school and of fices.
The building, which will be home to the Northern Sinfonia, is adjacent to the Tyne Bridge and the roof line of the complex will echo the bridge's familiar curved arch. The design, by Foster and Partners, also features a curved glass front.
Mott MacDonald is structural and services engineer on the project, with Buro Happold as specialist engineer.