Lend Lease, Amec Developments and St George/Argent in the frame to masterplan 20 ha site.
Three consortia are in the race to produce a £2.5bn masterplan for London’s King’s Cross, in partnership with London and Continental Railways.

Australian developer Lend Lease, Amec Developments and housebuilder St George with developer Argent have been shortlisted by LCR to masterplan 20 ha of disused railway land north of King’s Cross, next to the proposed Channel Tunnel Rail Link terminal.

This is the first comprehensive plan for the area since Lord Foster’s masterplan drawn up 10 years ago for developer Rosehaugh Stanhope.

This land is part of a 55 ha former British Rail site, which is now owned by the government. Under a 1996 private finance initiative contract to build the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, ownership of the land will pass to LCR when it puts forward its development plans for phase two of the rail link.

LCR will select its preferred developer next month. The successful consortium will produce a masterplan for a mixed-use scheme, including about 800 homes (of which one-quarter will be social housing), offices, shops and leisure facilities.

LCR hopes to submit a masterplan for planning permission in early 2001. When completed in 10 years’ time, the site will be Europe’s biggest transport interchange.

The consortia are expected to appoint design professionals by the end of this month. Over the next two weeks, the three consortia will conduct site visits and consult with the London boroughs of Camden and Islington, regeneration body King’s Cross Partnership and English Heritage.

Most of the site will be used during construction of phase two of the rail link, and then vacated for the development. LCR began construction of phase one, stretching from the tunnel to Fawkham Junction in north Kent, in October 1998.

LCR will begin phase two, stretching from north Kent to St Pancras, when Railtrack exercises an option, to buy the link at cost on completion, as it did with phase one. Railtrack’s option to buy phase two expires in 2001.

A Camden council spokesperson said: “During construction of the link, some of the sites will begin to become available for development.” Phase two is expected to be completed by 2007.

One consortium member said of the masterplan: “It will be a pioneering scheme – not many mixed-use, mixed-tenure developments of this size have been built.”