News follows publication of Arup Associates feasibility report

A competition to find an architect to design a major concert hall on the site of Powell & Moya’s 1976 Museum of London is set to be launched in the spring.

The government has announced it will donate £5.5m towards the initial concept designs and a detailed business plan.

The news coincides with the publication of a feasibility study by a team of consultants including Arup Associates which show the Centre of Music would cost £278.2m.

The venue would need to be 30,000sq m, which could be contained with a commercial development on the Powell & Moya site, the report concludes.

It said the advantages of that site next to the Barbican were “considerable” and the City of London Corporation has agreed in principle to make the land available as part of its plans to turn the area around the Barbican into a cultural hub.

The museum wants to move to Smithfield but that depends on the City of London signing a £34.6m deal to buy back the lease from property investor Henderson. This was due to be inked before Christmas but it now looks like it will drag into the new year.

The architect for the next phase of the Centre of Music project will be appointed through an EU-compliant public procurement process likely to be launched in April, said a spokesman. He denied reports that the competition would be run by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC), saying: “No one has been appointed or approached.”

MRC is set to be appointed by the Museum of London to run the design competition for its Smithfield home – if the move can be agreed.

Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican Centre which is working with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Guildhall School on the project, said: “We are very pleased that the Treasury and the GLA, who commissioned the feasibility study, are supporting the next phase of the project.

“The strong commitment of the City of London Corporation coupled with the funding provided by the government enables us to move forward. As the study demonstrates, the Centre for Music is not just viable but could be transformative.”