Developer set to hunt for contractor on £100m London scheme

Louise Dransfield

TH Real Estate advancing plans for £100m-plus office scheme in Farringdon

TH Real Estate will start looking for a contractor next year to build its long-awaited £100m-plus Charterhouse Place office scheme next to Smithfield Market in Farringdon.

The scheme replaces a former 1960s building called Caxton House with 300,000 sq ft of office space.

Designed by architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands with AKT II as the structural engineer, the scheme received planning approval five years ago but work has been hold while Crossrail uses the site – which has been demolished – to carry out work at nearby Farringdon station.

The area on the City of London fringes is set to be a construction hotspot in the coming years with the planned Museum of London set to be completed by 2022.

This scheme, which is being designed by Stanton Williams and Asif Khan, was given a huge funding boost by the City of London Corporation and the capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan back in January with the pair pledging £180 million towards the cost of the £250 million project.

The new site comprises the vacant Smithfield General Market, the vacant Fish Market, the Red House, Iron Mountain and the Engine House – all of which sit at the Farringdon Road end of West Smithfield. The museum said it expects to make more appointments to the construction team later this year.

Meanwhile, TH Real Estate’s £400m job at 40 Leadenhall, sometimes known as Gotham City, is expected to start once it pre-lets 30% of space at the site. TH Real Estate is also on the hunt for an investment partner for the project.

Designed by Make, demolition contractor Keltbray is lined up to carry out work at the City of London scheme while Mace is inked in to carry out main construction work.

TH Real Estate’s head of development Geoff Harris told Building that the developer wants contractors with skill, high levels of excellence and good communication. He added: “We also want our job on time, on cost and of the right quality and we want it first time.”

The developer tries to do as much off-site manufacturing of its buildings as it can, but Harris cautioned: “We try not lock ourselves too much into a design that can only be built by one person as that’s perhaps youre only dilemma with off-site manufacturing. You need to be flexible in case there’s a challenge in the supply chain such as a contractor failure”.

He added: “You can’t just talk about cost [on modular] you have to look much more holistically at it […] Don’t modularise just for the sack of doing it, that’s crazy, and you need for your modularisation not to affect the architectural quality of the building.”

Harris said the construction industry will “survive” whatever Brexit throws at it, adding: “The construction industry over the years has always been very good at adaption. Its always adapted to whatever challenges you put in front of it”.

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