Scheme is latest high-profile job contractor has picked up in recent months

Lendlease has added to its roster of big wins this year with the firm finally landing the prized deal for 120 Fleet Street after a ding-dong battle with Mace.

The firm was told last week it was preferred bidder for the job which developer Chinese Estate Holdings has said will cost it £429m.

The news is a blow for Mace which had hoped to add the project to its cluster of schemes in and around Fleet Street which include the so-called Justice Quarter, the £350m Eric Parry-designed judicial complex further up Fleet Street, and a £100m-plus office scheme at nearby Stonecutter Court.

120 Fleet Street Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

The scheme will include a 21-storey block (right) next door to the refurbished Daily Express building

But Lendlease has nabbed the 21-storey job after an earlier pitch from a third bidder, Multiplex, bit the dust in May.

One source said: “I think Lendlease thought they had it, then Mace thought they had it. It was to and fro to the end.”

Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, work at 120 will also include the refurbishment of the nearby Daily Express building, a grade II*-listed landmark, the former headquarters of the newspaper, and considered one of London’s finest art deco buildings.

Others working on the 120 Fleet Street job include QS Alinea, engineer AKT II and development manager CO-RE.

The new scheme is due to open in the first half of 2026 and will see the Express building turned into an art and cultural hub called the Joseph Lau Art Gallery – named after the founder of the forerunner of Chinese Estate Holdings when the firm was known as Evergo.

The 21-storey block will be known as the Evergo tower while the art hub will be “personally orchestrated” by Lau’s wife and successor as chief executive Chan Hoi Wan who in an announcement last month was described by the company as “an astute and savvy investor as well as art connoisseur”.

In the same announcement, made to herald the start of work at the site which will see Erith tear down the existing River Court Building to make way for the new tower, Lau is also hailed as being “renowned for his remarkable success and wizardry victories in securities and capital markets and one of the top art collectors in Asia”.

The win is a coup for Lendlease and is further confirmation it has made a significant push in the London commercial market after recently being eclipsed by rivals including Mace.

In May, it won the £400m scheme to turn the former ITV studios at 72 Upper Ground on London’s South Bank into an office complex for Mitsubishi Estate and CO-RE. But this job faces months of sitting on the sidelines after it was called in for a planning inquiry last week by secretary of state Greg Clark.

And at the end of June, Lendlease was told it had won a £200m scheme to turn the former London flagship of collapsed retailer Debenhams on Oxford Street into a new retail and office complex, beating long-time favourite Skanska to the work.

Mace and Lendlease, along with Sir Robert McAlpine, have recently returned bids for the £330m Museum of London project. Interviews are due to take place this month with a winner set to be announced later this autumn.