Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine is set to win the £250m contract to build the Merchants Quarter development in Bristol.

The firm has beaten off competition from Laing O’Rourke and Bovis Lend Lease. Laing O’Rourke is thought to have dropped out of the bidding process three months ago, and sources say Bovis was informed this week that it had not been successful.

The scheme, being developed by Hammerson as part of the Bristol Alliance, includes shops, restaurants and more than 200 homes. The work, due to be completed in 2008, will involve the re-routing of Bond Street and Newfoundland Road.

Bovis, Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine are all in the running to build the £180m Shires shopping centre in Leicester.

German PFI specialist Bilfinger Berger BOT has snapped up two senior development managers to concentrate on investment projects in the UK and Ireland. Chris Rhead joins as projects director on a £350m infrastructure project in Northern Ireland, and Kyle Clements joins as bid manager.