Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Firms tussle for £85m Edinburgh project

Big-name firms are vying to prequalify for a highly-controversial and high-profile project in Edinburgh, worth at least ВЈ85m.

Insiders say that Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Laing O'Rourke, BAM Construction and Miller Construction are among those hoping to get on the bandwagon for a contract to expand the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC).

It is understood that within the next few weeks, the city council intends to draw up a shortlist of firms to pitch for the design-and-build deal.

The core of the project involves an underground extension to the present building, with the extension linked to the EICC by an atrium building.

The scheme also features an office complex spanning around 17,500 m2 and a small retail element constructed above ground.


Firms tussle for £85m Edinburgh project


The project represents the latest attempt to upgrade the EICC.

The original developers of the scheme, working to a design by award-winning architect Sir Terry Farrell, were Cala Properties and AWG.

The scheme got the planning green light, but the developers subsequently pulled out of the deal in 2007, after failing to raise the money needed for the project to go ahead.

Now Farrell has attacked the new plans, drawn up by architect Building Design Partnership, as treating the architectural integrity of the building with "considerable contempt".

Council officials gave the new design their backing in a report, but at a recent planning meeting some councillors also condemned the scheme, comparing it to "a 1960s polytechnic".

It is understood that the planning committee will meet again before the year end to consider the project again.

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