Southwark Council has received three second stage bids for the lead developer role on the Elephant and Castle project.
Second stage bids have been received from St Modwen (owners of the existing shopping centre); Oceancrest (a consortium of Chelsfield, Blackfriars Investments and the New York-based Lefrak Organisation); and Lend Lease.
Southwark Council had always intended taking two or three bidders into the third and final round, and are currently evaluating the submissions received.
"We are delighted that the bids received set up the prospect of a highly competitive final stage of selection," said Chris Horn, Elephant and Castle project director.
Multiplex and Canary Wharf had submitted expressions of interest at stage 1 of the process but have declined to bid. Multiplex is believed to be reducing its current workload and has expressed regret that it is unable to pursue the Elephant project. It is however already committed to a tower scheme at the Elephant and Castle.
Canary Wharf Group is believed to have concluded that the Elephant is too large a project to initiate its intended shift into mixed-use development although the group has stressed that it does not rule out a future involvement subject to the right opportunity arising.
Final stage invitations will be issued around the turn of the year and the eventual partner selected in summer 2006.