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Knightsbridge Five chase Al Fayed court deal

FIVE contractors are vying for a complex £60 million contract to redevelop the former Knightsbridge Crown Court, west London.

The scheme is the brainchild of the Egyptian entrepreneur, Mohammed Al Fayed, owner of Harrods department store, which is adjacent to the site.

The firms set to return tenders on December 16 are Balfour Beatty, HBG Higgs & Hill, Kier, Kvaerner and Tarmac.

Site clearance work is already under way and a start on site is expected by late January, 1998.

But this schedule may not be met because the tender deadline has been extended by 11 days from an original return date of December 5, after complaints from some of the bidders.

One source close to the scheme said: 'The bidders were issued the documents at the end of October and did not feel this gave them enough time.'

The project is complicated and involves redeveloping the former courts complex, which is both seven storeys above and below ground. The proposal also includes retaining the existing facade of the 29,000 sq m building. The project will take three years to complete.

London-based architect M L Design Group has designed the scheme. The firm submitted a planning application to Kensington & Chelsea Borough Council and this has finally been granted

detailed planning permission.

Other consultants on the project include planner Grimley, quantity surveyor Franklin & Andrews and structural engineer WSP.

The scheme comprises 44 flats, restaurants, offices, a fitness club and 314 car parking spaces. The proposal will also create extra staff facilities and retail space for Harrods.