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HKR, Stephenson Bell and Ian Simpson have drawn up proposals for a new £14 million office development in Manchester city centre as part of a developerorganised design competition. The three practices were approached by property giant Bruntwood to come up with a 4,700m 2 scheme to replace an existing three-storey 1970s block in Fountain Street. The developer gave the firms just four weeks to come up with a 'cutting-edge design' for the challenging plot. Bruntwood development director Peter Crowther said: 'We are developing this [building] as an investment, not to sell. Consequently we're looking for long-term flexibility and a design that will look good in 20 years' time.'

He added: 'All three practices have used the latitude of the brief to provide very different answers to the questions posed. We've been left with a very difficult decision to make.' A winner is expected to be announced by the end of the month.

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