Cheshire West & Chester Council has advertised through OJEU for a construction partner to deliver the £300m Northgate scheme, setting a tentative target of late 2018 for a start on-site.
The Northgate development has been in the planning stages for nearly a decade, and is yet to secure a funding partner.
The first stage of the contractor appointment will be limited to developing the design proposals, with the successful partner working alongside the council and its advisors to develop designs, test buildability and manage out risk.
Development partner Rivington Land and CWAC secured consent for the retail-led scheme in September last year, and agreed pre-let deals with House of Fraser and Crowne Plaza earlier this year. Strutt & Parker is advising the partnership on funding for the scheme.
CWAC recently set in motion the process of using Compulsory Purchase powers on properties within the development area.
The council said that construction on the scheme could start at the end of 2018, a target dependent upon the Secretary of State confirming the Compulsory Purchase Order following completion of the statutory process.
Cllr Brian Clarke, cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure at CWAC, said: “This is an exciting time for Northgate and Chester, the recent opening of the bus interchange and Storyhouse has demonstrated our commitment to the city and commencing the process of appointing a contractor for Chester Northgate is further evidence of our commitment and ambitions.”
Contractors have until the end of September 2017 to respond to the advertisement. Shortlisted contractors will be notified in October and invited to tender with an appointment of the successful contractor likely in February or March 2018.
CWAC said it is seeking contractors with significant experience in large, city centre development schemes who will also need to demonstrate their ability to work in a historic environment.