Job includes turning former Daily Express HQ into art hub for Chinese developer
Mace is being tipped for the latest mega-deal to come up for grabs on London’s Fleet Street with the firm understood to be in pole position for the work at 120 Fleet Street.
Building understands the contractor is set to edge out remaining rival Lendlease for the job which developer Chinese Estate Holdings has said will cost it £429m.
Both Mace and Lendlease remain tight-lipped but it is understood the job is heading Mace’s way with a decision on the winner being made this week. A pitch from a third bidder Multiplex was dropped in May with the firm since going on to win the £120m makeover of the IBM building on London’s South Bank for Stanhope.
In an announcement on Monday, Chinese Estate Holdings, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, heralded the start of its “flaghip” scheme at 120 and said demolition had begun last week. Erith is due to finish this part of the job next spring.
The developer said the 21-storey block at the eastern end of the famous thoroughfare will be known as Evergo Tower, covering 540,800 sq ft of office space and 18,600 sq ft of retail. Evergo takes its name from the forerunner of the group which was set up in 1978 by Joseph Lau and listed on the Hong Kong exchange five years later.
Erith’s work will involve demolishing the existing River Court Building, the former home of Goldman Sachs, which has moved to a Multiplex-built, KPF-designed HQ around the corner.
Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, work at 120 will also include the refurbishment of the nearby Daily Express building, a grade II*-listed landmark, the former headquarters of the newspaper, and considered one of London’s finest art deco buildings.
The new scheme is due to open in the first half of 2026 and will see the Express building turned into an art and cultural hub called the Joseph Lau Art Gallery.
According to the developer’s announcement, this will be “personally orchestrated” by Lau’s wife and successor as chief executive Chan Hoi Wan who is described as “an astute and savvy investor as well as art connoisseur. She plans to revitalize the Daily Express Building for the betterment of cultural development, particularly supporting emerging artists, through hosting various exhibitions, performances, seminars and workshops in collaboration with famous art museums, auction houses, art galleries, dancing and music schools.”
Lau is described as one of the top art collectors in Asia and, the announcement adds, his collection includes Chinese porcelain, Chinese antique furniture, Chinese contemporary paintings and calligraphy, western classical oil paintings and western contemporary art including pieces by Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat.
Others working on the 120 Fleet Street scheme include QS Alinea, engineer AKT II and development manager CO-RE.
A win would cement the Fleet Street area of London as a Mace stronghold with the firm picking up the so-called Justice Quarter, the £350m Eric Parry-designed judicial complex further up Fleet Street, in January.
And last week, Mace was confirmed as the winner of a £100m-plus office scheme at nearby Stonecutter Court. Designed by TP Bennett, the deal is being developed by investors Ivanhoe Cambridge and Allianz.
CO-RE is development manager on this job as well with Erith, one of two firms contesting the findings of the Competition and Markets Authority into bid-rigging in the demolition sector, also carrying out demolition at the site. Law firm Travers Smith is taking 158,000 sq ft of the 250,000 sq ft that will eventually be built.