Swiss Re contractor tipped to build £500m City of London skyscraper, which won planning permission last month

Contractor Skanska has been tipped to win the race to build the 47-storey Heron Tower at 110 Bishopsgate in the City of London.

Sources close to the scheme told Building that the Swedish contractor was expected to build the 203 m tower, which won planning permission last month.

It is unclear which other contractors are bidding for the £500m skyscraper, which is a speculative project with a public restaurant and bar on its top floor.

Multiplex is understood to have approached the developer, Heron Corporation, in early 2003, however Skanska, which built the nearby Swiss Re tower, is understood to be firm favourite.

Tall order: Construction is due to start in 2007

Tall order: Construction is due to start in 2007

Heron plans to begin construction of the tower, which was designed by American architect Kohn Pedersen Fox, in 2007. The project was approved by the Corporation of London on 17 January.

A spokesperson for Heron said a decision on the contract would be made within weeks, as the developer aimed to begin work on site as soon as possible.

Multiplex is understood to have approached the Heron Corporation in early 2003 for the contract

Skanska declined to comment.

The Heron Tower is one of a number of tall buildings planned for the Square Mile, particularly in the area around Liverpool Street station.

Bovis Lend Lease is already building the 36-storey, 37,000 m2 Broadgate Tower at 201 Bishopsgate. British Land is the developer on the £200m tower.

The same developer is also behind the 224 m wedge-shaped Leadenhall Building, which was designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership and won planning permission in 2004.

Kohn Pedersen Fox is designing the 307m-tall Difa Tower, which will also be on Bishopsgate. It has yet to gain planning permission, but has recently won the support of CABE.

Meanwhile, developer Minerva is awaiting planning permission for the 217 m Minerva Tower in Houndsditch, designed by Grimshaw. Plans for the building are reported to be on hold until a large pre-let is secured.