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Giants vie for office job

CONTRACTS - CITY OF LONDON

THE INDUSTRY'S big guns are gearing up to battle it out for a £200 million office scheme in central London after planners gave the deal the thumbs up.

Bovis Lend Lease, Laing O'Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine are the front-runners for developer Land Securities' project at New Fetter Lane in the City of London.

InteriorExterior is also thought to have been in discussions over the massive construction deal.

A single building of 67,000 sq m was originally designed for the site but following a revamp in January 2003 original plans were scrapped.

The new design by architect Bennetts Associates will provide four separate blocks centred on an open space, to be known as New Street Square. It was given the green light last month by the Corporation of London.

The plot in the Holborn area of the capital will be handed over to Land Securities in September.

A source at the firm said building will not begin until at least some of the 62,000 sq m of office space has been let.

The New Street Square scheme is scheduled for completion in mid 2007.

The source said: 'We're obviously hoping to get on site as soon as possible.The latest designs give us the flexibility to phase construction work according to demand.'

The developer is looking to let the building deal as one contract.

The source said: 'There is a common basement, car park and infrastructure so it is unlikely to be let in completely separate packages.'

Bovis Lend Lease and Sir Robert McAlpine tend to do most of Land Securities' jobs.

Bovis walked away with the developer's £150 million Bankside office deal last summer, while Sir Robert McAlpine is on site at the £170 million Cardinal Place scheme in Victoria.