Contractors thought to be frontrunners for 35-storey tower next to Barbican in City of London

Brookfield and Mace have emerged as the frontrunners to build a £190m Heron scheme that is to restart in London this year.

It is understood that Brookfield (formerly Multiplex) and Mace have emerged from a field that includes Laing O’Rourke, Ardmore and Skanska to be favourites to win the residential-led tower near the Barbican in the City.

The 35-storey tower, which is being built in partnership with Berkeley Group, was formerly known as Milton Court but has since been renamed The Heron. It contains almost 300 residential apartments above a concert hall for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It was put on hold in summer 2008 owing to deteriorating market conditions.

The scheme, designed by David Walker Architects, is the latest sign of life from London’s development market. Last week, Land Securities appointed Mace to its £120m Park House in London’s West End. It also appointed Sir Robert McAlpine to its £100m Selborne House scheme and Wates to its £18m Wellington House project, both in Victoria.

A source close to The Heron said: “It’s my understanding that it’s between Brookfield and Mace, although Brookfield might have the edge.”

The Heron will be the largest residential scheme to be built in the City since the Barbican. It will include a 625-seat concert hall and two theatres.

The scheme has been scaled back from its first conception, with its height reduced by about 28m to 112m to address concerns about views from the South Bank. It was also altered from a stepped form to a more conventional block to give it a closer visual relationship with the Barbican towers.

A spokesperson for Heron said: “We never comment on the names of organisations involved in tendering.”