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SOM wins giant Liverpool masterplan contract

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SOM with Gillespies has won a major competition to masterplan a major overhaul of Liverpool city centre which could run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

The firms beat Terry Farrell & Partners with degw, Koetter Kim Associates, and Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners with Buro Happold to land the plum job. It includes over 3.2km of one of Britain's most famous waterfronts, the River Mersey, and stretches back as far from the Albert Dock, taking in the finance, cultural and universities quarters.

The competition was launched last year by Liverpool Vision, the uk's first urban regeneration company. It is a joint venture between English Partnerships, North West Development Agency, Liverpool City Council and businesses. Europe has promised Liverpool £840 million for regeneration between 2000 and 2006.

Roger Kallman, a director of som, said the project could be completed by 2007, the 800th anniversary of the city of Liverpool. 'There are commercial and cultural districts but these tend to be isolated and we have to look at how we can knit these together by refurbishment, new build, pedestrian links and improving circulation.'

A proposal is due in June. It will look at past proposals for the area and identify opportunities. Kallman said it was too early to say how much demolition and new build would be needed.

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