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Six hunt £32m uni project


SIX CONTRACTORS are swotting up for a £32 million deal to build the first phase of an office and teaching block in Leeds for the city's metropolitan university.

The bidders ? Carillion, HBG, Interserve, Laing O'Rourke, Shepherd and Sir Robert McAlpine ? have until June 7 to return bids for the traditional contract.

A start on site has been pencilled in for this autumn for the scheme, which is known as the Rose Bowl and is expected to take about 22 months to complete.

Developers GMI are advising on the project, which has been designed by architect Sheppard Robson and includes a ref lective glass bowl design.

Turner & Townsend has also been signed up as quantity surveyors and Arup is working as the structural and M&E consultants.

A planning application for the scheme was submitted to the city council in February this year.

The project will feature offices, teaching accommodation, including a lecture theatre, and a new home for Leeds Business School on a plot next to the city's civic hall.

Stephen Willis, the university's director of finance, said:'Leeds Met means business.

This is a valuable development for the city, its people and businesses.' The site at Portland Gate in Leeds is being bought by the university from the city council and was the subject of another proposal in 2003.

Taylo r Wood row had been selected as preferred developer for the site and proposed a major mixed development designed by architects DLA only for this project to fall by the wayside.

Then, the site at Portland Gate was valued at between £7 million and £8 million but an assessment obtained by the university last year valued it at between £11 million and £12 million.

Adjacent to Portland Gate, Liverpool-based developer Downing is also planning a £50 million redevelopment of a former BBC building.

Also for the university, which selected Downing as preferred developer in February, this scheme comprises 400 student rooms and a further 12,000 sq m of teaching space.