British Land, Igloo Regeneration Consortium and Langtree will compete to take forward development of the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus.
Public sector partners the North West Development Agency, Science and Technology Facilities Council and Halton Borough Council will now ask for detailed bids from the three for the 1m sq ft joint venture.
Goodman and Quantum/Aviva withdrew or were eliminated from the contest at the previous stage. An earlier development agreement to deliver a 200,000 sq ft phase was torn up after the initial partner, St Modwen, said it would not be able to fulfil the contract due to the recession.
Prof Colin Whitehouse, chairman of the joint venture executive steering group and deputy chief executive of the STFC, said: "It's a very exciting time to bid to become our joint venture partner as 2010 promises to be a very important year for Daresbury SIC. Work is about to begin on a grow-on facility for businesses, we are waiting for confirmation from the Government to go ahead with the new Hartree and Detector Systems gateway centres and we are establishing a major new accelerator centre – to name just a few developments.
"British Land, Igloo and Langtree are all very high calibre organisations and I am sure that, with the winning bidder, this North West campus – together with its sister campus at Harwell in Oxfordshire – will bring new investment and greater economic return to the area, and ensure the UK stays in a prime position for its world-leading science and innovation."
Daresbury SIC brings together high-tech businesses, universities, STFC and other research organisations and industrial partners, along with the business support and investor community.
It is expected that the final bidder will be selected in May and the joint venture operational by July.