SIR ROBERT McAlpine is closing in on a high-profile £100 million deal in Glasgow.
The firm is understood to be in talks with Scottish developer Elphinstone about becoming a backer of the Trinity Project - three towers set to dominate the city skyline.
A project source said: 'All the big players were getting excited about this and names like Bovis Lend Lease and Balfour Beatty were circling but now Sir Robert McAlpine is talking to them and the opposition has backed off.
'If Sir Robert McAlpine agrees a deal and becomes a development partner it is almost certain to get the construction deal.'
Sir Robert McAlpine is also ideally placed because the Trinity Project's India Street site is close to the firm's Glasgow headquarters in Elmbank Street.
Elphinstone managing director Ken Ross said: 'We have no commitment to any contractor yet. The company is still developing designs and is in discussions at this time.'
Elphinstone is hoping to submit a planning application for the scheme by April.
The three towers will be built next to the M8 motorway on the site of the old Strathclyde regional council headquarters. The site, which has been vacant since 1995, was once mooted as a potential site for the Scottish Parliament, now in Edinburgh.
Macdonald Hotels is to run a four-star hotel containing 320 bedrooms, a rooftop restaurant and conference centre. The other two towers will contain 72 luxury apartments and office space for 1,500 workers.
Architect Cooper Cromar has designed the scheme, while Arup is the structural and civil engineering consultant. Construction work is due to begin in 2004 following demolition of the former headquarters, with completion scheduled for 2006.