Developers behind east London regeneration scheme to search for firms by middle of year


The developers behind the 62-acre regeneration at Silvertown in east London plan to look for contractors to build the huge mixed-use scheme by the middle of the year.

Work on the three-year long £500m first phase is expected to start next spring. The development team – called the Silvertown Partnership and comprising Chelsfield, First Base and Australian firm Macquarie Capital – will build a temporary factory on the site to help it build the 5 million ft2 of commercial space and 3,000 homes planned.

First Base director Phil Wade said: “Being able to do more in a factory has some advantages, we believe. Looking at other technologies makes sense for us.”

Wade said he was hoping enabling works would start by the end of this year and added: “Main building will probably start in the first quarter of 2018.”

The centrepiece of the first phase will be to turn the Millennium Mills, a derelict turn of 20th-century flour mill in West Silvertown, into commercial workspace.

Stirling prize-winning architect AHMM has drawn up plans for the flour mill, which has often been used as a backdrop in film and TV productions. Other big names on the project’s design panel include Tate Modern extension practice Herzog & de Meuron; Cheesegrater designer Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; David Chipperfield, who is turning the existing US embassy into a hotel; and Dutch architects OMA and Mecanoo, which was behind the new Birmingham library.

Wade said the deal for the flour mill is likely to be awarded to a single contractor with work on this part of the scheme aiming to be completed by the end of 2019 to coincide with the arrival of Crossrail at nearby Custom House.

The first phase will also include £100m of infrastructure including a new £20m bridge linking the site to Custom House station and some of the residential units.

Wade said the development team was still looking at procurement methods but admitted: “With a site like this you do need some overall site-wide control. Until we’ve decided on construction methodology, I don’t think we can decide on procurement.”

The scheme, which has increased in value by £1.5bn to £5bn since it was given the go-ahead at the end of 2015 by former London mayor Boris Johnson, will also include retail and restaurants, a hotel as well as cultural and community facilities.

The wider project team currently includes Aecom, Alinea, AKT II and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff.