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Laing O'Rourke looks for historic win on the Mersey

CONTRACTS - LIVERPOOL

LAING O'Rourke is tipped to win a prestigious museum project in Liverpool to coincide with the city's stint as European Capital of Culture 2008.

The firm is set to beat off competition from rivals Galliford Try, Balfour Beatty and Bovis Lend Lease to secure the £35 million deal to build a new museum for the Board of Trustees National Museums Liverpool, with support from the Northwest Regeneration Agency.

HBG and Sir Robert McAlpine originally prequalified for the project last year but dropped out before returning tender documents.

Now the Board of Trustees, which is awarding the job under a two-stage tender, will work with Laing O'Rourke to finalise details of the project National Museums Liverpool appointed Danish architect 3XN to design the building, which will see the current Museum of Liverpool Life replaced by a 10,000 sq m structure next to the Liver building.

The museum will house exhibitions on Liverpool and its people through the ages. The city council granted planning permission last December.

Located alongside the Three Graces at the Pier Head, the structure will be over 24 m high and will be an X-shaped design. It will occupy part of the site earmarked for the Fourth Grace scheme, which was rejected in 2004.

Construction work is set to start in June with completion planned for early 2008.