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Six firms vie to build 25-storey tower in £500m Chelsea project

Six contractors have been shortlisted to build a 25-storey residential tower as part of the £500 million Lots Road regeneration scheme in Chelsea, Construction News understands.

Contracting giants Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and Vinci are thought to have been lined up for the £45m job, which has recently been revived after a long delay (news, page 12, 23 September).

Irish-owned firms Sisk and P Elliott - both of which are building towers on the 2012 Athletes Village - are also believed to be on the shortlist
It is understood Kier was also shortlisted but has withdrawn.

A source close to the deal said: “This is the first of a number of big contracts likely to come out of this scheme.

“Lots Road is a huge regeneration scheme so they’re splitting it up and tendering it that way - you’d certainly expect the same names to compete for the larger tower when it goes out.”

The wider scheme includes the conversion of the redundant Lots Road power station and the creation of a 25-storey tower in Kensington and Chelsea, a 37-storey tower in Hammersmith and Fulham and eight other buildings.

A total of 397 housing units will be provided as part of the scheme, with as many as 216 units to be designated as affordable.

The project is being developed by Hutchinson Whampoa Properties and has faced a long battle to get to this stage, having been thrown out by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 2003.

The developer appealed and the scheme went to a public enquiry. The inquiry inspector John Gray concluded the towers would be too dominant and exceed housing density limits for the area.

In 2006, the then deputy prime minister John Prescott denied the towers would be unduly high, saying they would be “attractive landmarks” in an area that was “not one of particular sensitivity to tall buildings”.

Last month, Construction News revealed that construction was set to begin on site imminently.

A source said: “The first basement package has been tendered and work should be starting on the first tower in January. It’s full steam ahead at the moment.”