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McAlpine steps aside from £78m Carlisle Citadels job

23 May The University of Cumbria is looking for a new contractor for its £78m Citadels project after Sir Robert McAlpine pulled out.

The University of Cumbria was hoping to have started construction of its new campus in Carlisle city centre already but is still at least eight months away  from breaking ground.

Sir Robert McAlpine won the original  tender back in March 2022, with the expectation that the main construction work would begin in the first half of 2023 and complete by spring 2026.

Now McAlpine has pulled out, a new contract notice has been published and work will not start until next year. Completion is envisage in spring 2027.

The overall budget for the project including fees, land acquisition and VAT is £77.5m. The construction contract value, excluding VAT and client side costs, is £55m.

The university said that McAlpine had withdrawn from the project because it had recently won tenders for two large new infrastructure projects and wanted to focus on these instead.

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University of Cumbria chief operating officer Mark Swindlehurst said: “We have a fantastic design ready to go and will now be going through a tender process to select a new contractor with a view to building work starting on site in early 2025.

“It’s an exciting time for the university, the wider city and region, as we move towards realising our vision and the next phase of delivery for this transformational project.”

Grant Findlay, executive managing director of buildings at Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “We will watch with pride as The Citadels campus starts to take shape and will continue to support the project through our supply chain.

“This is an exciting project for whoever takes over the reins and we look forward to seeing the finished campus.”

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