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Multiplex plans 'shard'

Contractor in talks with developer to build Europe's tallest building at London Bridge

MULTIPLEX has put itself into pole position for a £350 million contract to build Europe's tallest building.

The firm has been taken on by developer Sellar Property to help with details of planning for the London Bridge Tower.

The 309 m high, 66-storey tower - known as the Shard of Glass - is almost twice the size of the City of London's current tallest building at Tower 42.

The Shard of Glass will feature more than 100,000 sq m of office space built directly over London Bridge station.

While Multiplex has not yet signed a contract to build the scheme, it is thought its role in helping the project's development will stand it in good stead if it is given planning approval by the Government following a public inquiry.

James Sellar, of Sellar Property, said: 'We are talking to Multiplex on a number of projects. It could not be described as a shoe-in to build the tower but it is a company we like and can work with.

'Its help at this stage can only put them in a good position when it comes to construction.'

Last July Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott called in the tower for a public inquiry, which will start on April 15.

Mr Sellar said no date for a start of construction will be set until a successful completion of the planning process.

It is understood the tower will take up to five years to build.

One London office building expert said: 'This is the biggest of a swarm of major office buildings in the city that started with Swiss Re.

'Multiplex seems to have lost out on the Heron Tower to Skanska so this would be a perfect way to establish itself as a tall tower builder in the heart of London.'

It had been claimed that delays to the Thameslink 2000 project could also scupper the scheme but Mr Sellar said London Bridge station would be able to handle the growth in passenger numbers from the development without improvements to the Thameslink service.