REGIONAL firms are squaring up to national rivals in the battle for a £40 million hotel scheme in central London.
London-based firms Ardmore and CJ O'Shea are bidding against big guns Costain, Carillion and Laing O'Rourke for Galliard Homes' 14-storey development.
The planned scheme is an 'apart-hotel', at which the rooms are snapped up by individual owners and then rented out with the hotel and individual sharing the profits.
Owners can also stay in the rooms for free.
Ardmore in particular will be hoping to claim another national scalp, having beaten Laing O'Rourke and Mowlem to a £60 million mixed-use scheme in London's Docklands last autumn for developer Cathedral.
Bids for Galliard's job are due back in just over two weeks' time on July 19 and the winning contractor is likely to be appointed early in the autumn - although a start on site could be delayed while planning arrangements are finalised.
A number of bidders said the value of around £35 million quoted in the original specifications may be too low and one source admitted the final costs could rise to as high as £45 million.
He said: 'We could be looking at £10 million more than what they are hoping it will cost.'
The 300-bed scheme, located on the south side of the River Thames across from the Houses of Parliament, will be built on derelict land.
The site for the hotel is currently being used as a temporary car park.
It is conveniently adjacent to the Eurostar train terminal at Waterloo station and behind County Hall, which was home to London mayor Ken Livingstone's Greater London Council back in the 1980s.