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Two left in Liverpool arena hunt


THE NUMBER of firms hoping to bag a £100 million arena complex in Liverpool has been halved with just two now left in the running.

The city council has picked Laing O'Rourke, which is rapidly making the city a stronghold, and Bovis Lend Lease to work up final bids for the new venue, which is planned for the Kings Waterfront area of the city. Carillion and Sir Robert McAlpine were the pair to miss out.

Laing O'Rourke scraped through by the skin of its teeth after the council extended the initial deadline to allow the firm to transfer its bid team from another Liverpool scheme, the now defunct Fourth Grace, which was binned back in July because of rising costs.

A winner is due to be chosen next month with work starting in spring 2005.

Council leaders are hoping the work will be finished by summer 2007 ahead of Liverpool's stint as European Capital of Culture the following year.