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US giant in Docklands boost with Hopkins extravaganza

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US fund management giant Fidelity Investments is set to unveil a 75,000m 2speculative office block designed by Michael Hopkins & Partners after deciding not to be derailed by the catastrophic events in New York's financial district a fortnight ago. But the AJ can reveal that the firm's entirely coincidental connections to the terrorist attacks are eerie in the extreme.

In the light of the US situation and likely global recession, the company looked afresh at its plans for the 20-storey block, which would kick off Docklands' £250 million EDAW-masterplanned Millennium Quarter project.

But the firm, the largest fund manager in the world, chose to push ahead with its plans for the Isle of Dogs, for tenants from the financial, professional and insurance sectors. Vice chairman and chief operating officer Robert Reynolds urged clients to stick with their long-term investments.

The company's US base is in Boston while the Docklands site, a minute's walk from South Quay, was hit by the IRA bomb in 1996 which killed two people and caused £150 million of damage.

But the company's development arm, Pembroke Real Estate, had also planned to build World Trade Center South, an office/retail development next to the now-collapsed twin towers. An article in the Boston Business Journal in February said it was ready to submit plans, having built the Seaport Hotel, which opened in 1998, World Trade Center East, which opened last year, and World Trade Center West, which was due to open in 2002.

Pembroke is to unveil full designs for the Hopkins Docklands blocks next Friday. It has signalled that it will take up to 15,000m 2in the building, to be called London Millharbour. The design, in the form of linked, stepped, 'highly visible' buildings, has been branded a 'spectacular' departure from Docklands aesthetic and for Hopkins. 'It will be the most significant piece of architecture ever in Docklands, ' said a project source.

The Millennium Quarter site will also include buildings by Patrick Davies, Michael Squire and Partners, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and EPR Architects. EPR's work there includes refurbishing the bomb-damaged 1-3 World Trade Centre and the construction of a new 4-5 WTC (AJ 17.5.01).

London Millharbour will be ready for occupancy in summer 2004.

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