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O'Rourke tipped for £30m regeneration

CONTRACTS MANCHESTER

LAING O'Rourke is front runner in the race to build a new community development in a run-down part of Manchester.

The firm faced competition from rival Taylor Woodrow in the chase for the first phase of the £70 million scheme, known as Islington Wharf.

Developer ISIS Waterside Regeneration, which includes Amec, British Waterways, which looks after the country's rivers and canals, and financier Morley Investments, will award the contract in the next few weeks.

The first phase of the project is valued at £30 million and features two-storey houses and apartment blocks, all dwarfed by a waterside 21-storey tower.

The urban village will be built in Ancoats on the edge of the Ashton canal, close to the city centre, and next to another regeneration scheme master minded by local developer Urban Splash called New Islington.

The ISIS project will also be neighbour to other regeneration schemes including a social housing project known as Chips, which has been drawn up by architect Will Alsop.

At the heart of the ISIS development will be a podium garden on top of an underground car park to act as a village green. Once all 500 homes, shops and offices are complete it will be the focal point of the community development.

Designed by architects Broadway Malyan, the first phase of Islington Wharf will comprise 200 homes. Construction work is due to start in April, with completion planned for 2008.

This is ISIS Waterside Regeneration's first major development project since it was formed in 2002. The company has now got more than £1 billion-worth of investment lined up on 69 ha of waterside land in nine cities across the UK.

It is planning to launch new development schemes at the Leeds canal basin and at Dundas Wharf in Glasgow.