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Frank Gehry's King Alfred scheme scrapped

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After five years, Gehry's Brighton project is finally dropped

Frank Gehry’s controversial King Alfred development has officially been scrapped, ending a five-year rollercoaster ride for the troubled £290 million ‘wonky towers’ scheme.

Last night (9 November), the final nail was hammered into the coffin after Brighton & Hove City Council admitted the deadline for developer Karis to come up with a funder to replace Dutch bank ING had expired.

The bank walked away from the hugely contentious mixed-use development – dubbed ‘tin can alley’ by locals – back in August.

The radical twin-tower scheme, which was designed with HOK and Piers Gough’s practice CZWG, would have created 750 apartments and an all-new community sports centre on the seafront plot.

However, the authority said it would now have ‘to go back to square one’ to work out how improved sports facilities could ‘be provided with the existing building and site'.

Mary Mears, leader of the council, said: ‘We need to work out a way forward. While we’d like much better sports facilities, we need to ensure that any development required to pay for them is acceptable in terms of size and appearance.'

She added: ‘The situation is very much complicated by the current economic downturn. Virtually all major public works these days are dependent on private investment and at the moment that has dried up.

‘However, we want to see a refurbished King Alfred leisure centre and we will do everything we can to ensure that happens.’

Karis director Josh Arghiros is understood to have spent £13 million on the failed scheme.

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