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Trade Centre plan dropped in favour of residential site

CONTRACTS

THREE firms are bidding to resurrect a £55 million hotel and apartment block scheme on a London Docklands site originally earmarked for a new World Trade Centre.

Developer Capital & Provident went cold on the £185 million Trade Centre office scheme at Marsh Wall opposite Canary Wharf last year after problems gaining planning permission and the decline in the capital's office market.

French contractor Bouygues was understood to be in pole position for the scheme before it was scrapped.

Capital & Provident has now reverted to its original plan, which already has planning permission, to build a 276-bedroom Hilton hotel and 93-apartment residential block on the site.

Tenders will be returned by Laing, Mowlem and Skanska at the end of March, when the client expects to choose one firm to take forward for second-stage tender negotiations. Work is set to start on site on the two-year project in September.

The scheme will be built using the steel frame of a building that was partially demolished in the 1996 IRA bomb attack at South Quay station.

One bidder said: 'It's going to be tricky because the superstructure is designed for offices;

but they're asking us to fit residential and hotel space in instead. The frame will need to be strengthened to suit the job.'