Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Procurement could be imminent for 63-storey Columbus Tower

Contractors could soon be sought to build a proposed tower in Canary Wharf that would become one of the tallest buildings in London.

A source close to the Columbus Tower said the “intention had been to start straight away” on the groundworks at the site before the project unexpectedly hit a planning hurdle.

The future of the planned 63-storey structure in the heart of the capital’s docklands was left hanging in the balance after Tower Hamlets council rejected the developer’s planning application last month.

But London mayor Boris Johnson last week announced he would use his planning powers to call in the major scheme.

Industry leaders welcomed the mayor’s intervention in the project – the first time he has exercised the new powers since he was elected.

It is understood that designs – drawn up by a team including Mark Weintraub Architecture & Design and structural consultants WSP – are close to complete and that all major challenges, including building over a future Crossrail tunnel, have been ironed out.

A source told CN: “All the design issues have been sorted, and the project was ready for construction when it was rejected.

“I think everyone was pretty happy with Boris’ announcement, and a project like this is expected to attract a large amount of construction interest.”

The project includes 31,000 sq m of office space, a 192-room hotel and more than 70 apartments.

Contractors on other London tower schemes, including Mace – which is building The Shard – and Skanska – which is delivering the Heron Tower – would be expected to look closely at the work, insiders say.

A one-day public hearing with planning officers is expected to be held in October, with an announcement due to be made shortly after that.

Mr Johnson defended his decision to call in the project, saying the new development could provide thousands of jobs, and that the developer was expected to make a financial contribution of up to £5 million to the Crossrail scheme.

Developer Commercial Estates Group refused to comment on the timeline for construction until planning has been formally granted.