£180m Roots in the Sky scheme will include over 100 trees on top of former court complex

Mace has picked up its latest commercial deal in London with the firm lined up for a scheme called Roots in the Sky – which involves building a rooftop forest on top of the former Blackfriars Crown Court in Southwark.

The firm has pipped remaining bidder Lendlease for the £180m deal which is being developed by Fabrix, a six-year-old developer set up by former private equity and investment managers. An earlier pitch from Laing O’Rourke was tailed off in the process.

The job involves planting a forest of over 100 mature trees along with 10,000 mature plants with around 1,300 tonnes of soil needing to be lifted to the rooftop ahead of planting.

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The Roots in the Sky scheme will include planting more than 100 trees and 10,000 plants on top of the former Blackfriars Crown Court building

The building on Pocock Street, completed in the early 1960s, was originally a printworks and later turned into a court in 1993 before being closed last year.

Under Fabrix’s plans, the seven-storey building will include 385,000 sq ft of office and community space and which will also include a rooftop bar, restaurant and swimming pool.

The scheme, designed by Shepherd Robson, was given planning towards the end of 2020 with others working on the job including M&E consultant Atelier 10, project manager Gardiner & Theobald and QS Quantem.

In a design and access statement submitted with its planning application, the developer said “the [building] has been designed to endure beyond our immediate time [meaning] it will continue whilst others halt, with off-site modern methods of construction [that] will be delivered to a greatly accelerated programme and quality”.


Mace will start work on Edge London Bridge next January

Meanwhile, Mace has won a £200m deal to build a 28-storey tower on St Thomas Street called Edge London Bridge.

The scheme for the Dutch developer of the same name has been designed by Pilbrow & Partners and is set to start next January ahead of completion in spring 2026.

The job will run across 260,000 sq ft and will include a green roof terrace as well as a new public park nearby.