Eight on shortlist for David Chipperfield-designed scheme which carries £200m-plus pricetag

US embassy hotel online

A host of big names including Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine and Multiplex are all chasing Qatari Diar’s high-profile contract to turn the former US embassy in Mayfair into a luxury hotel, Building can reveal.

The scheme hit the headlines earlier this year after US president Donald Trump complained that the US government under his predecessor Barack Obama had sold the site to the Qataris for “peanuts”.

The last of the embassy’s staff moved out of its historic Grosvenor Square address back in January into its new building, constructed by McAlpine, at Nine Elms.

Careys has won the first major package of work to carry out demolition and enabling works at the grade II listed home, built in 1960 to designs by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen.

The new plans have been drawn up by David Chipperfield and involve building a 137 room hotel with five restaurants, six flagship retail units, a spa and 1,000 person ballroom.

The longlist of eight contractors for the job is completed by Mace, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Kier and Lendlease.

No official value has been put on the job but one source said: “It will be north of £200m.”

The bidding timetable is expected to follow that of Qatari Diar’s revived phase four of its £1bn Chelsea Barracks redevelopment, the longlist which Building revealed yesterday.

A winner on the Grosvenor Square job is expected in the first quarter of next year with work starting in earnest later in 2019.

The wider project team includes Gardiner & Theobald as cost consultant, Buro Four as project manager, AKT II as structural and façade engineer, Hilson Moran as building services, fire engineer and ecology consultant, and BDP as landscape consultant.

Chipperfield has said his designs “respect the significant architectural and structural characteristics of Eero Saarinen’s design, with a focus on restoring and enhancing this unique building to secure its long-term future at the heart of Mayfair”.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will manage the new hotel once completed.