The Santa Monica developer that built the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco won the job of overseeing a $1.2-billion housing, retail and aquarium project in London.
The London Development Agency ratified a contract Tuesday with KUD International to make the Santa Monica firm master developer of a 6-million-square-foot project called Silvertown Quays on 50 acres near City Airport in eastern London.
KUD's experience building large-scale aquariums in Long Beach and Tampa, Fla., gave it the edge over more than 20 competitors, said Marvin Suomi, president and chief executive. KUD is a subsidiary of New York-based Kajima USA, an arm of Japanese construction company Kajima Corp.
Silvertown Quays is a massive redevelopment project on the site of the former Royal Docks owned by the city that will be on the scale of London's huge Canary Wharf office and retail complex.
Silvertown Quays will be primarily a residential development with 3,500 units. Most of them will be sold at market rate, but 30% of the units will be sold at discounts to low-income families and public service workers such as police, firefighters and teachers, who often find themselves priced out of the city.
The development's centerpiece will be the 150,000-square-foot National Aquarium, which will be operated by the Zoological Society of London. KUD will pay for the $200-million aquarium from the profit it makes from developing the housing, and has guaranteed its completion. The entire project will take about eight years to complete.
Suomi declined to disclose KUD's expected profit from Silvertown Quays
The London Development Agency has deeded the land to KUD, which will coordinate all aspects of the development, including selecting architects, engineers and other consultants; obtaining permits; hiring general contractors and managing construction.
It will take about a year to complete the city's development approval process and start construction, Suomi said.
The first phase of the project, including the aquarium and 150,000 square feet of entertainment-oriented retail space, should be finished by mid-2006, Suomi said.
KUD also is involved in the development of a football stadium for the Philadelphia Eagles and a rain forest exhibit for the California Science Center in Los Angeles.