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Three chase Monsoon office

CONTRACTS - WEST LONDON

THREE firms are vying for a £30 million project to build a headquarters for fashion giant Monsoon Accessorize.

Norwest Holst, Laing O'Rourke and John Sisk are all currently chasing the deal, which will see the construction of a seven-storey building at an industrial estate in west London.

The project is being overseen by private developer Houge, which has plans to redevelop several plots of land at the Notting Hill site. Jackson Coles Partnership is project manager.

Peter Simon, the entrepreneur who set up the fashion retailer in 1973 with a shop in Knightsbridge in London and the man behind Houge, bought the site back in July 2005 using £10 million of his estimated £400 million fortune.

The company now has nearly 400 stores across the UK and Ireland.

He purchased the area from the Multiplex, Westfield and Reuben Brothers consortium which took ownership of the plot following its takeover of proper ty developer Chelsf ield in 2004.

The building will be put up on the site of a former recording studio, which is currently being demolished. Surreybased contractor Southern Demolition is due to finish work at the end of next month.

Monsoon's existing HQ is located in a Grade II listed building in the Paddington Basin and is part of a regeneration project in the area. The new building will provide 240,000 sq ft of office space.

Tenders for the construction contract are due to be returned by mid-March, with an award expected in April.

A source at one bidder said: 'There is still a while before a winner is chosen and no one has emerged as favourite.' Other commercial and mixed-used developments at the site have been proposed, although planning permission for these areas still needs to be secured from Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.

Another source said: 'This initial development will in effect be phase one; the other phases will need to secure planning permission first. Houge is an offshore company that no one really knows much about. They are remaining tight-lipped about the whole project.'