Galliford Try lands Wigan job ahead of ‘construction partner’

Galliford Try has landed the first phase of a £135m redevelopment that was expected to have been delivered by Beijing Construction Engineering Group International (BCEGI).

Developer Cityheart is Wigan Council’s development partner on the Wigan Galleries project, which involves the demolition of a former shopping centre and its replacement with new homes, leisure and retail facilities, including a new market hall and food court.

Cityheart announced this week that Galliford would deliver the new market hall and food court, a 144-bedroom hotel, the basement and associated infrastructure.

BCEGI, which is ultimately owned by the Chinese Government, was initially named as the joint venture partner of Cityheart on the development of the site, under a vehicle called Galleries 25. It was described as the project’s “construction partner” in statements released by Cityheart, including in one announcing BCEGI as landing a demolition contract in 2022.

In 2021, the then leader of the opposition Conservative group on the council, Michael Winstanley, criticised the appointment of a company owned by the Chinese state, though the appointment was defended by Cityheart and the council.

Galleries 25, a limited liability partnership comprised of Cityheart and BCEGI, was incorporated at Companies House in January 2021 but dissolved two years later.

BCEGI’s website still describes itself as “main construction partner” on the project.

A Cityheart spokesperson said this week that each phase of the project is being contracted individually and BCEGI completed the demolition phase last month, before Galliford Try’s appointment.

The spokesperson declined to give a figure for the value of the work that will be delivered by Galliford Try and has not responded to further questions about the break-up of Galleries 25.

It was also announced this week that PP O’Connor has been appointed to carry out the groundworks ahead of the build.

Galliford Try Building North West managing director Darren Parker said: “The Galleries project will create a real landmark for the town centre and we look forward to playing our part in creating high-quality facilities for local people.”

Cityheart chief operating officer Warren Taylor said: “This is a complex, multiphase scheme in the heart of the town and we are looking forward to seeing the key elements of this transformational project start to emerge this year.”

BCEGI has not responded to a request for comment.

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