The contractor is in exclusive negotiations with developer Stanhope over the 13 ha site. Both parties declined to comment ahead of the sale, but it is understood Stanhope is planning a 150 000 m² business park, which Kvaerner hopes to construct.
The price tag for the site, located in the fashionable borough of Chiswick, is expected to be £40m. This will rise to about £400m when the park is fully occupied The scheme is expected to be masterplanned by architect Richard Rogers Partnership. Industry sources said Stanhope is likely to develop it piecemeal over a number of years, with buildings not starting on site until they have been leased to occupiers.
As a condition of the sale, Kvaerner is understood to be asking for guarantees that it will construct at least some of these buildings, most of which will be designed by Rogers.
Sources said, though, that one obstacle to the sale may be Stanhope's preferred form of procurement – fee-based construction management, which Kvaerner does not specialise in.
The contractor is more familiar with traditional and fixed-price contracts, although its City of London arm Trollope & Colls is comfortable with all forms of procurement.
Rogers' masterplan would replace an earlier one, drawn up in the 1980s, that included designs by Terry Farrell & Partners, Peter Foggo Associates and Rogers. Stanhope has now decided that a new scheme is needed.
The developer was involved in the earlier project but withdrew in the early 1990s, leaving the site in the hands of its former joint-venture partner Trafalgar House. Kvaerner acquired it when it took over Trafalgar House.
Kvaerner then planned to use the site to build a 40 000 m² headquarters for itself, and had expected to submit the scheme as an example of Egan best practice.
This plan was axed after the contractor's weakening financial position forced a round of cost cutting across the entire group.
Most recently, this has meant the disposal of its Govan shipyard in Glasgow and its Cleveland Bridge steel fabricating arm.