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Majors chase £4bn deal

Balfour Beatty, Bovis Lend Lease, Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace have been lined up to bid for a £4 billion luxury housing scheme.

The four firms are understood to have been chosen by developer Project Blue (Guernsey) to bid for the deal to demolish the former home of the Queen’s Guard on Chelsea Bridge Road, replacing it with a luxury apartment-led mixed use scheme.

The development, designed by architects Rogers Stirk + Harbour and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, is being project managed by luxury residential specialist Candy & Candy.

Half the scheme’s 638 flats are expected to join those of other Candy & Candy projects such as 1 Hyde Park and Noho Square as being among the most expensive homes in the capital, which regularly see price tags top £20 million a flat.

The remaining 319 homes are being developed as more affordable homes, while the scheme will also involve building a 108 bedroom boutique hotel, 2,200 sq m of retail space and a community sports centre.

Project Blue (Guernsey) is jointly owned by a Qatari government investment group and CPC, a company owned by Christian Candy - one of the Candy brothers.

In February it completed a £959 million purchase of the site from the Ministry of Defence, while the value of the completed development is reported to be as high as £4 billion.

One project source said: “You might think that the state of the housing market would put a hold on big housing jobs but this is in a whole different world.

“The kind of people buying these homes won’t need a mortgage so the credit crunch doesn’t affect them, which means the development can move forward to the building phase.”

At least three of the bidders have links to Candy & Candy, with project sources claiming there is no clear favourite for the work.

Planning documents reveal that Balfour Beatty Management worked with engineers URS to help work up proposals for the scheme, while Mace is currently building the Candy & Candy-managed Noho Square in Fitzrovia. Former Bovis Lend Lease staff John Howell and Rod King left the firm to join Candy & Candy as construction director and residential commercial director respectively.

And Sir Robert McAlpine is nearing the end of its high-profile scheme to turn the former home of Arsenal Football Club at Highbury, north London, into exclusive flats.

Enabling works for the job are understood to already be underway for completion by the end of the year. Brown & Mason begins demolition work next month with the soft strip with the entire contract running for 12 months.

Excavating the basement for the scheme will take a further year with building work for the apartments pencilled in to last around two years, although works may be phased. The overall development is scheduled to take six years to complete.

Show home takes to the skies

The designers of the London Eye have been taken on to design the world’s first ‘flying’ marketing suite for the Chelsea Barracks project.

Planning documents submitted last month to City Of Westminster Council reveal the developer has enlisted leading architect Marks Barfield to design the suite.

This will feature a display apartment for prospective customers that can be raised up to 18 m above ground level to give an idea of the view from the completed apartments.

The raising mechanism will stop at various levels in order to show the views from different apartments.

It will take five minutes to rise to its full height.

The lifting mechanism for the suite has been designed by structural engineer Atelier One and will function using a counterweight linked to eight chains that will raise the suite up on a central mast.

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