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Race over for £60m tower

CONTRACTS - SOUTH YORKSHIRE

SHEPHERD is negotiating on a £60 million deal to build a landmark development in Sheffield, which will be the city's tallest apartment block.

Drawn up by design guru Sir Terence Conran, the residential block will consist of 322 flats spread across two towers - one of 32 storeys, the other of 12.

Harrogate firm City Lofts is the developer behind the scheme, known as St Paul's Place, which will feature luxury flats with underfloor heating, floor-to-ceiling tiling in the bathrooms and designer fittings.

The residential scheme finally won planning permission in October last year after the city council insisted on a number of changes.

A source close to the project said: 'Some initial enabling works have started on site but we understand that a contract award is anticipated very soon.'

The development was rejected last year after a local councillor blasted the scheme calling it 'mediocre' and 'unexciting'.

Revisions made to the structure include putting a 20 m mast on the top of the taller building to make it more distinctive, while the lower building was relocated and the cladding changed from terracotta to natural stone.

The taller tower, which will feature some commercial space on the ground floor, will eventually top out at 101 m.

One source close to Shepherd said: 'We don't know exactly when the scheme is set to be awarded but we are involved in working up the bid for it.'

The development is set to be completed in 2009 and will include 135 one bedroom apartments, 181 two bedroom and six studio flats, some of which have already been bought.

At the bottom of two towers will be two commercial units and a multistorey car park along with access roads and landscaping. Construction work is anticipated to start in February.

This is Conran's second project for City Lofts. His previous design for Salford Quays is already complete.

And Urban Splash is currently working on another Conran design in Sheffield on a lower-rise development in Carver Street in partnership with Ask Developments.