Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine has been confirmed as the winner of a £160m contract to build the Shires shopping centre in Leicester.

Developer Hammerson has signed up Sir Robert McAlpine for the overhaul, which will double the size of the Shires to 120,000 m2.

The news came as Bovis Lend Lease was confirmed winner of the three-way race against Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O’Rourke for the £150m revamp of 125 Old Broad Street, the former LSE Tower, and 50 Threadneedle Street, in the City of London.

Geoff Wright, Hammerson construction director, told Building that the two contracts had been signed just before Christmas and that work on both was starting “about now”.

Hammerson is partnered by retail developer Hermes on the Shires project, where department store John Lewis is lined up to take a 22,000 m2 unit.

The deal with McAlpine is Hammerson’s second in two months, following the £250m deal to build the Broadmead development in Bristol.

Meanwhile, Hammerson’s headquarters at 100 Park Lane is set to become one of Europe’s most expensive sites after it was bought for £37.4m. The developer will leave the colonial-style mansion, which it has occupied since 1970, in June.