Demolition work started on Paternoster Square this week but the Corporation of London may seek compulsory-purchase orders to break a gridlock in talks over parking and access.
Builders will smash the 1960s blocks down to podium level for six replacements in a masterplan by Whitfield Partners. New buildings include the 20,000m2 Warwick Court by MacCormac Jamieson Prichard, 22,000m2 King Edward Court by Michael Hopkins and Partners, and 15,000m2 St Martin's Court by Allies and Morrison.
William Hill, managing director of Schroder Property Investment Management which advises the site owner Paternoster Associates, said squabbles over rights of way and parking had caused delays. 'At one stage there was a hairdresser on the site with a long lease stopping the whole 60,000m2 development. We haven't been sitting on the corporation's doorstep asking for CPOs, but we don't want people holding out for a king's ransom.'
The site owners aim to pre-let the major buildings. Whitfield's masterplan was given the nod in 1988 and the first building is due for completion in 2002. If the corporation presses ahead with its compulsory-purchase powers it will be the first time it has done so in 25 years.
Playhouse plans dramatic reflections on Nottingham
Julian Marsh + Jerzy Grochowski is to design a £1.2 million redevelopment of the forecourt of Nottingham Playhouse after an Arts Council lottery award of £910,000. It will improve access, put in new seating and create a new entrance.
Marsh will work with 1991 Turner Prize winner, Anish Kapoor, on the project. The artist will build a 6m-diameter concave stainless-steel mirror called Sky Mirror to reflect the clouds and surrounding architecture. Completion date is set for June 2000