Architects have been invited to draw up plans for a 1 million ft2 extension to Canary Wharf in London Docklands,.
The Canary Wharf Group is believed to have asked Skidmore Owings & Merril, Terry Farrell & Partners and the Manser Practice to pitch for more than 700,000 ft2 of office space at its BB3 and BB4 sites at the eastern end of the development.

The Manser Practice is understood to be up against HOK and Wilkinson Eyre for the BB2 site, on which a 270,000 ft2 building is expected to be built.

Canary Wharf is showing the designs to potential occupiers. The most popular design for each site will then be built. Designs for BB3 and BB4 include the construction of one 14-storey building or two slimmer structures. All three sites are opposite the Millennium Dome.

A source at Canary Wharf said: "We work with two or three architects for any building. We work with lots of different architects."

One architect said: "Canary Wharf is trying to get its clients, that is, potential occupiers, to select their preferred designs. Construction of the projects will depend on when the clients want the buildings."

Canary Wharf is trying to get its clients, that is, potential occupiers, to select designs

Architectural source

The designs, chosen by the most likely major occupier of each building, are expected to be selected in the autumn. Canary Wharf has planning permission for offices on the sites so construction can start when the occupiers require them.

The move comes against the backdrop of falling rents in the City. Projects have been put on hold and there is an increasing amount of speculative space.

Many developers' plans for office space are earmarked for the next commercial boom, not today's market.

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