LCR looks for partners after terminating agreement with Westfield, Stanhope and the Reuben brothers
London & Continental Railways is looking for developers to take on its £4bn Stratford City project after it began legal proceedings to dismiss the existing firms.
LCR, the leaseholder for the site, decided to end its agreement with Stratford City Developments, the joint venture at the centre of a long-running row over control of the project, which is critical to the timely delivery of the 2012 Olympics.
Stratford City Developments is a joint venture between Westfield, the Reuben brothers and Stanhope. The Reubens and Westfield were planning to buy out Stanhope and each other in an auction to be run by investment bank NM Rothschild.
But LCR became exasperated with the three after repeated delays caused by infighting and the parties' demands to be immune from any legal action after the auction. LCR's most recent deadline of 21 April was extended, but only until last Friday.
Stephen Jordan, LCR's managing director, said: "I will not apportion blame to any single party, although neither will I absolve any of blame."
The warring parties now have a 42-day "remediable" period in which to grant themselves a reprieve by solving their differences. However, an LCR spokesperson stressed that the termination issued last Friday did not amount to a new deadline.
He said: "We no longer had any faith that this would come to a resolution. We had to take decisive action in order to keep to the timetable on the site."
LCR became exasperated by the parties' demands to be immune from any legal action
Work on the first phase of the project is still planned to begin next year, while detailed plans will be submitted to Newham council within six weeks. The site will house the Olympic media centre and athletes' village.
The spokesperson declined to reveal the developers that LCR was planning to approach. However, Bovis Lend Lease has been mooted as the most likely partner. It is already working as a project manager on the scheme.
Other names, including British Land, Hammerson, Grosvenor, Development Securities and Argent, which is developing the £4bn King's Cross Central scheme on land owned by LCR, have been put forward as potential partners.
However, Land Securities, which is working around LCR's Ebbsfleet station in the Thames Gateway, is understood to have ruled out any involvement in Stratford.
LCR may yet ask the current developers to partner it directly on the scheme. In particular, Westfield, which is developing the £1.5bn White City project in west London, may be approached to develop the retail side.
LCR will choose the new development partner with the Olympic Delivery Authority, which last week took control of the site's freehold to gain greater powers to deliver the facilities on time.