Three firms in running for mixed-use scheme known as Western Yards

A winner for a huge £1bn scheme being masterminded by Native Land in Blackfriars is set to be made next month after the developer unveiled fresh details of its proposals.

Over the summer, Building revealed that Mace, Multiplex and Balfour Beatty had all been shortlisted for the first phase of work, known as Western Yards.

First-round interviews with the three were completed last month with two firms set to be chosen for a head-to-head battle next week.

“It’s all still to play for,” one source said. “They’re looking at a decision early November.”.

Western Yards has a price tag of more than £200m and will include an 18-storey office block, called Arbor, as well as two residential buildings comprising 257 homes – a 49-storey tower and a smaller 13-storey block.

The two tallest towers have been designed by PLP with Arbor due to complete in September 2021 while the 49-storey tower will be finished at the end of the following year. The 13-storey block has also been designed by PLP.

CGI Arbor building - Bankside Yards

How the Arbor building will look when completed with the taller 49-storey residential block in the background

Western Yards is being built on the site of the former Ludgate House, which was opened by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1989 and was the former home of the Daily Express and Building. Balfour Beatty also had offices there.

McGee completed tearing down the building at the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge last year and has been carrying out basement work and is currently working on the concrete core at the 18-storey block. Cementation Skanska has been carrying out piling work.

Western Yards, which is being funded by a mixture of Malaysian and Singaporean investors, will also include revamping 14 railway arches in the area that will include 50,000 sq ft of retail, leisure and cultural space.

The site is directly opposite Berkeley’s 50-storey One Blackfriars, built by Multiplex, while Balfour Beatty has been growing its business in London’s high-rise residential market and is on site with a 53-storey scheme called the Madison in South Quay while earlier this year it beat Multiplex to the next phase of the Lewisham Gateway scheme.

Last month, Mace picked up a near £500m mixed-use job for Chinese developer R&F Properties at Nine Elms in Vauxhall.

Western Yards is part of the wider development called Bankside Yards which also includes Sampson House on the other side of the railway line that runs into and out of Blackfriars station.

McGee has been demolishing this building, completed in the 1970s by Fitzroy Robinson, after tenant IBM moved out last autumn.

The Sampson House part of the scheme is known as Eastern Yards and will eventually have five buildings of mixed-use including just under 350 homes, as well as a hotel and office space.

Gillespies is landscape architect across the entire site.

All images Grain London

CGI Bankside Yards ground level

Western Yards will also include revamping nearby railway arches to include retail and restaurant space