Exclusive: Big name contractors in running for £150m contract to build Great Portland Estates’ Rathbone Place development in central London

Rathbone Place

Four major contractors are to battle it out for the job to build Great Portland Estates’ £500m mixed-use development on a former Royal Mail site in central London, Building can reveal.

Developer Great Portland Estates (GPE) has invited Mace, Sir Robert McAlpine, Brookfield Multiplex and Lend Lease to bid for the £150m contract to build its Rathbone Place scheme, which is off Oxford Street.

The scheme, designed by architect Make, comprises a comprehensive development of the 2.3 acre site of a former Royal Mail sorting office to provide new buildings totalling 414,000ft2, as well as a public square and pedestrian routes.

The development includes 42,000ft2 of retail space, 217,000ft2 of offices and 155,000ft2 of residential in 162 units.

GPE acquired the site in November 2011 for £120m before leasing it back to Royal Mail Group, which vacated the site in August.

GPE has also invited three firms - Careys, Morrisroe and Byrne Bros - to bid for the demolition and substructure works on the scheme.

The contracts, which are being tendered alongside each other, are expected to be awarded by the end of January, with work expected to be underway in February 2014.

The scheme won planning permission from Westminster council last week.

It is understood that GPE will be using a BIM model as part of the tendering process, for both the main construction and the substructure contracts, with the bidders asked to demonstrate logistics and programme skills using the model.

Although Mace is building GPE’s 240 Blackfriars Road office scheme, which will be the new home of UBM, the publisher of Building, the contractor is not thought to be the frontrunner for the Rathbone Place development, with a source close to the process describing the contract race as “very much open”. The scheme, which is to be built in a single phase, is expected to be complete in October 2016.

Buro Four is the project manager on the development, EC Harris is the cost consultant, AKT II is the structural engineer, and Hilson Moran is the engineering and sustainability consultant.

A GPE spokesperson confirmed the shortlisted firms but declined to comment further.