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Rival trio for square mile deal

CONTRACTS - LONDON

ONLY THREE firms are now in contention for a £50 million office deal opposite St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London.

It is understood that the race for the Cheapside scheme is between Balfour Beatty, Mowlem and Skanska.

Two other runners, Carillion and Sir Robert McAlpine, are now out of the reckoning.

An insider said that the final run-in is likely to be a hotly contested affair.

He added: 'It has all been very competitive so far and it's set to become even more so.'

Work for the London-based client, St Martins Property Group, is due to kick off in October for completion in early 2008.

The eight-storey building, next to St Paul's underground station, is expected to become the headquarters of a finance company.

The job also involves demolishing the existing building on the site, currently home to the Kuwait investment office.

Designed by architect Aukett, the building will span almost 19,200 sq m and include half a dozen retail units.