Scheme at 334 Oxford Street due to start next January

Lendlease has nipped in to take the prized scheme to turn the former London flagship of Debenhams on Oxford Street into a new retail and office complex.

Building understands the £200m job came down to a two-horse race between it and frontrunner Skanska. A pitch from Mace was tailed off earlier in the process.

Skanska had been considered the long-time favourite to nab the deal which is being developed by 334 Ramsbury Oxford Limited, owned by Ramsbury Property. Ramsbury, which holds a majority stake in fashion chain H&M, is run by Swedish billionaire Stefan Persson.

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The plans would see a new facade and three upper storeys added to the existing building

One source said: “Everyone thought Skanska would get it because of the Swedish connection. Lendlease put a very good bid together. It was a wafer-thin decision.”

Building understands Lendlease signed a PCSA deal at the end of last week with work set to start in earnest at the beginning of next year ahead of a January 2025 completion date.

The win is a tonic for the Australian contractor which has seen its work on 72 Upper Ground, the former London studios of ITV, stalled following an intervention by communities secretary Michael Gove last month.

Demolition contractor John F Hunt, one of 10 named last week by the Competition and Markets Authority for taking part in bid-rigging, is carrying out partial demolition of the building at 334 Oxford Street which has been closed since February last year when the 200-year-old retailer sank into administration.

Hunt is knocking down around half the building with the portion which fronts Oxford Street being kept.

The building, which takes up a whole block close to Bond Street tube station, will include three storeys of retail along with office space on its upper levels. It will be extended to comprise a basement, ground and nine upper floors which will include outdoor terraces at the top levels.

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The site has been empty since Debenhams collapsed early last year

Designed by AHMM, others working on the deal include QS Alinea, project manager Blackburn & Co, M&E consultant Atelier Ten and structural engineer AKT II. Facades work is being carried out by Scheldebouw.

The project is being managed by the London based commercial real estate practice Capital Real Estate Partners.

Meanwhile, Lendlease and Mace are set to find out next month who has won the £350m scheme to build a new office block at 120 Fleet Street.

Designed by BIG, others working on the scheme include Alinea and development manager CO-RE. A bid from Multiplex fell earlier in the process.