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Big names in fight for £600m 'Elephant' job

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Six consortia stuffed with leading architects are to battle it out to redevelop the 69 hectare Elephant and Castle area of South London as part of Southwark Council's radical wish to treat it as a blank canvas (aj 18.3.99).

Six groups which expressed an interest have now either dropped out or pooled resources but six teams have now submitted proposals. They are:

Elephant & Castle Regeneration Trust, including czwg, Levitt Bernstein, ws Atkins, Hillier Parker and Miller Ventures

London & Amsterdam/Countryside Consortium, including Terry Farrell and Partners, Michael Hopkins and Partners, Roger Tym & Partners, Buro Happold, Space Syntax and Bovis

Southwark Land Regeneration, including kp Architects, Benoy Architects, hta Architects, Derek Lovejoy Partnership, Allies & Morrison, Anthony Blee and Battle McCarthy

Schal, including Alsop and Stormer, Healey & Baker and Denis Wilson Partnership

sure Consortium, including Manhattan Loft Corporation, Urban Catalyst, Urban Initiatives (no architect at this stage)

The St George Consortium, including Tibbalds Munro, Mott MacDonald, and Urban Strategy.

The teams all provided examples of delivering similarly large-scale and complex regeneration projects elsewhere and will go forward to a shortlist of two or three at the end of the month. A winner will be chosen next March.

Southwark leader Niall Duffy said the potential and scale of the Elephant and Castle site was unrivalled in London and that he was 'delighted' the six teams had responded to the moves toward an 'exciting and sustainable future for the area.'

Teams which dropped out included Foster and Partners and the Richard Rogers Partnership, although they or other architects may be joining the six bidders at a later stage. Director of regeneration and environment at Southwark, Fred Manson, told the aj he wants to be in contract with a consortium to carry out the £500 million to £600 million of developments in the area by 1 April 2000. Between £300 million and £400 million of the money is likely to come from the private sector.

One major development in the area, expected to cost around £20 million, is understood to be a development by South Bank University at St George's Circus. The teaching, sports and library scheme is by bdp and should be announced later this month.

On the main masterplan, architectural considerations will come after an assessment of the financial capacity and administration and organisational ability of the consortia.

Manson estimated that the work - regeneration to unlock commercial potential plus infrastructure and housing improvements that will also pay heed to social exclusion - could take around 15 years to complete. Although it wants the scheme to exemplify government policies on social exclusion, the council is open to the demolition of council housing in the area and decampment.

Southwark has £25 million of Single Regeneration Budget money to kickstart the programme - half of it going towards ensuring that local people benefit from the investment and enterprise ushered in by the new developments. The other half is going on 'remodelling' the transport infrastructure.

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