The Wood Wharf scheme, which is to the east of Canary Wharf, is being contested by a number of developers.
Canary Wharf Group has teamed up with the Manhattan Loft Corporation and Hammerson has formed an alliance with architect Foggo Associates. Other firms in the running include British Land, Development Securities, Helical Bar, Allied London Properties and Ballymore Properties.
Ken Dytor, director of Urban Catalyst, said that the partnership had been prompted by Viñoly's interest in doing a project with his firm. Urban Catalyst's reputation is based on its mixed-use regeneration schemes in Bermondsey and Barking.
British Waterways, which is seeking a private developer for a public–private partnership, is the leading navigation authority in the UK, with more than 3000 km of rivers, canals and docks under its control.
British Waterways' masterplan, drawn up by Bath-based architect Nick Kuhn, provides for at least 460,000 m2 of floorspace, including 330,000 m2 of commercial and 120,000 m2 of residential.
The bidders will be narrowed to a shortlist in the next couple of weeks.
The developer is in talks with banks to fund the venture. The concept is being sold as a way to encourage socially responsible investment, as the properties will be let out to creative industries to raise the profile of an area.
The new venture, which is yet to be named, will be based in Urban Catalyst's offices in Goodge Street, central London, but will be a separate company.