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Skanska poised for £70m victory

Contracts LONDON

SKANSKA is in line to clinch a £70 million deal to build a major mixed-use development in south-east London.

The firm has been battling Sir Robert McAlpine since January for the Southwark project, known as Southpoint, but insiders say Skanska now looks to have beaten off its sole remaining rival for the scheme.

Kier and Balfour Beatty also pitched for the Blackfriars Roads scheme but joint client Royal London Asset Management and Blackfriars Investments' threw out their bids late last year.

An insider close to the deal said: 'We understand Skanska is in line for it now although there wasn't much to choose between the two bids.'

Skanska's likely success means Southpoint would be the first major London job Sir Robert McAlpine has missed since its hat-trick of wins on Arsenal's new stadium and the Esso Glen and Spitalfields office developments.

Work on the main two-year construction deal will not begin until the summer. The project, granted full planning permission by Southwark Borough Council, includes a 13-storey building opposite Southwark Tube station, 1,500 sq m of retail space at ground level and office space of more than 15,000 sq m.

A 260-bedroom hotel was also considered in early plans but is understood to have been dropped for financial reasons.

Keltbray has been at work since January on the demolition of the existing building on site, Orbit House.

Alsop is the architect on the scheme, Hanscombe Partnership is QS and Buro Happold is the structural consultant.

nSkanska is vying with Mace, Sir Robert McAlpine, Carillion, Bovis Lend Lease and Laing O'Rourke for developer Chelsfield's £180 million Grand Union Building development at the Paddington Basin. The firm returned outline bids last week for the Richard Rogers-designed project, which features six interlinked office buildings.