Bouygues is converting the former Royal London Hospital into a town hall for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
The Grade II listed 18th century building was used as a maternity hospital for much of the 20th century but has been vacant since 2012.
Bouygues UK signed a £109.5m construction contract with the east London council in December 2018 after carrying out preparatory works, including soft-strip and asbestos removal.
John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We are delighted to have signed a contract with Bouygues UK to deliver a new town hall for Tower Hamlets. This will be one of the most exciting projects in London. It will be a building for everyone to use, a place to get things done quickly with council, housing and health services under one roof, meeting rooms and spaces for the public, and all in one of the best connected sites in London.”
Throughout the project, Bouygues UK will be focusing on heritage and the environment, it said. Features such as optimised water consumption and the use of renewable energies to generate electricity are expected to secure it a BREEAM excellent rating.
The design by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) retains and restores the Georgian façade of the original hospital building.
Overall project cost is £115.4m. This has risen from £105m when the council cabinet approved the project in 2017. The increase has been mainly due to volume of asbestos found inside all the plaster in the ceiling, walls and floors – which had to be removed. Other reasons include inflation and the uncertainty of Brexit which has added to the cost of the main contract.
The council estimates to recoup £78m from the sale of council buildings that will no longer be needed once staff have moved to the new Town Hall. After eight years the council will be saving public money compared to current arrangements, it says, as it will avoid the need to pay £5m a year to occupy the current town hall at Mulberry Place.
With a total surface area of 26,700 m2, the new town hall will form part of the Whitechapel Vision, one of London’s largest regeneration projects, which includes the construction of a new life sciences campus, seven new public spaces and 3,500 new homes.