Treble-chasing club sticking to start date of this autumn

Manchester City is beginning the search for a new contractor to carry out work on the expansion of its Etihad stadium after Building understands the club and Laing O’Rourke failed to agree a price for the job.

O’Rourke had been lined up as the main contractor on the scheme which will see the ground’s capacity increased by 8,000 to 62,000 by putting an upper tier on the existing structure of the North Stand, complete with a sky bar overlooking the pitch and a stadium roof walk experience.

The original builder of the stadium, which is currently building Everton’s £500m Bramley-Moore Dock ground, was also expected to build a large commercial block attached to the North Stand that will contain 4,000 sq m of office space, a museum and a new club shop.

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Work on the expansion plan is expected to start this autumn

But Building can reveal talks have now ended with the pair believed to have been unable to agree a price for the work.

Manchester City, which could win a hat trick of trophies this season if it beats Inter Milan in the Champions League final on Saturday night, declined to comment but it is understood club officials have described the discussions with O’Rourke only as “preliminary”.

A planning application submitted by the club to the city council in April includes a detailed construction management plan drawn up by Laing O’Rourke with a start on site scheduled for this October and completion of the expanded North Stand due by August 2025.

The club is still expected to start work as planned and under this timetable a winning contractor will be appointed in September.

>> See also: To refurb or rebuild: what next for Old Trafford?

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Attention will now turn to who will carry out the work with sources suggesting Sisk, which is being lined up to build out parts of the Populous-designed scheme, including a 400-room hotel and a 2,800 sq m covered public realm area, could now be in pole position for the entire job.

Sisk has previously built the €165m (£142m) Croke Park stadium in Dublin as well as the €285m (£245m) Aviva stadium, previously known as Lansdowne Road, in the Irish capital.

“It would make great sense from a timing point of view and Sisk have experience of stadia with Croke Park and the Aviva,” the source said.

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The scheme will also include a hotel and office block

Building understands that would-be builders Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace are unlikely to throw their hats into the ring unless the job was let as a construction management scheme.

City’s current home was designed by Arup and built by John Laing ahead of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. The club moved to the ground in time for the start of the 2003/4 season.

Laing O’Rourke declined to comment.

The wider project team includes structural engineer Buro Happold, QS Turner & Townsend, transportation consultant Arup, planning consultant Deloitte, project manager and employers agent Gardiner & Theobald and fire engineer Ashton Fire.