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HBG favoured to go live at Leeds

CONTRACTS - WEST YORKSHIRE

HBG is tipped to win a £40 million scheme to build the first phase of a huge revamp planned for Leeds Metropolitan University.

The firm is set to pip Shepherd, Carillion, Interserve, Laing O'Rourke, and Sir Robert McAlpine to make it through to the final stage of the two-stage tender for a new teaching facility known as the Rose Bowl.

An insider said: 'A preferred bidder has yet to be announced, but it's looking like HBG.'

Designed by architect Sheppard Robson, the building will be completed in 2008 and will be the new home of the university's business school.

The scheme is part of a £130 million redevelopment, which will also see the former BBC building in the city transformed into a £50 million arts, enterprise and teaching centre known as Old Broadcasting House.

This project will be developed by a joint venture partnership between the university and Liverpool developer Downing.

Planners at the city council are due to give a final decision on the Rose Bowl project in the next few weeks. The five-storey block will be built next to the city's Civic Hall.

The complex will feature wings surrounding a circular tower and will include a 250seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms and offices. A 200-space public car park will be laid out underneath the new building.

HBG is due to formally sign a contract for the Rose Bowl work later this autumn with a start on site set for early 2007.

As part of its expansion plans, Leeds Met has already moved its film school into the Electric Press in Millennium Square, redeveloped Georgian buildings in Queen Square and moved its Leeds Law School into Cloth Hall Court.