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Friday01 August 2014

Shedkm wins £100m Brighton scheme

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Opening London office pays off for Liverpool practice

Liverpool practice Shedkm’s decision to open a new office in London has been vindicated after the firm nabbed its biggest contract to date.

The firm, which has been going since 1997, set up the office on Regent Street in June and has now won a £100 million mixed-use scheme in Brighton, beating a number of big-name practices in the process.

The scheme, its first for developer Cathedral Group, will involve turning a former municipal market on Brighton’s Circus Street into 200 homes along with 3,000sq m of commercial space and 1,200sq m of retail.

Shedkm, which recently landed the Ruskin Square office scheme in Croydon for Stanhope, beat AHMM — which is already working with Cathedral on its plans to revamp the former EMI pressing plant in Hayes — Make and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

Shedkm, Brighton

Model of Shedkm’s scheme for a former municipal market on Brighton’s Circus Street

John McAslan & Partners, which had worked on the Circus Street site for Cathedral six years ago, declined to take part in the competition.

Shedkm director Hazel Rounding, who heads up the six-strong London office, said: “We decided we needed to be on the ground a bit because we’ve got a good client base down in London. Would clients take the plunge if we didn’t have an office down in London? One thing the recession has taught us is to be flexible and there’s no doubt more money is being spent in London and the south.”

Cathedral’s creative director Martyn Evans admitted it was in two minds about running a competition for the Brighton work in the first place and added: “We questioned hard the purpose of a competition as we tend to be loyal and work with the same firms.

“The scheme that won really answered the brief because it was all about Brighton. They showed us that they understood the city.”

The developer is working in tandem with Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton University in what it calls a PPP deal — which involves the firm bringing in private funding to revamp council-owned sites.

A new 4,500sq m library along with teaching and resource centre will be built for the university as well as accommodation for
400 students.

Shedkm is hoping to get an agreed masterplan out before Christmas, with the scheme going to planning next May.

Work on site is due to start in early 2014.

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