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Teams pull out of £200m Ocean Estate revamp

Only one consortium remains in the running to revamp east London’s notorious Ocean Estate after two other teams decided against submitting bids for the £200 million job.

Work at the estate, located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, would include refurbishing existing accommodation as well as the demolition and rebuilding of homes.

An East Thames/Wates/Bellway/First Base joint venture is now the only contender for the project after two other candidates decided against submitting bids.

Construction News understands that Lovell/Guinness Partnerships is one consortium to pull out, while the other party to withdraw consisted of Willmott Dixon’s affordable housing specialist Inspace in a joint venture with Circle Anglia.

The council declined to comment, but a source close to the job said it was not certain whether the borough would plump for the sole bidder or restart the tender process.

The final trio were whittled down from an initial list of seven bidders that included Apollo Property Services Group, which pulled out, and Connaught Partnerships.

The job is divided into two lots. The first focuses on demolition followed by the construction of about 530 homes for private sale, 340 affordable homes and the refurbishment of over 1,000 units affordable housing.

It also includes constructing new shops to replace a terrace of 16 outlets.

The second part of the job involves the management and maintenance of the 1,240 council-owned dwellings over a period of five years.

The regeneration of Ocean Estate - between Mile End Road and Ben Jonson Road in Stepney, east London - has been planned since 2001 when former prime minister Tony Blair pledged £56 million
for the project.

Earlier this year, former communities minister Baroness Andrews pledged £19.7 million for the scheme between now and 2011. The borough itself is contributing £14 million.

With the area coming under the spotlight as a host borough for the 2012 Olympics, the council will be keen to get the job completed in time for the Games.

The estate is known in the area for its overcrowded living quarters and, though crime levels have fallen in recent years, the state of accommodation still falls below the Decent Homes Standard.