Early mail (which is also months late) is that UK’s Foster + Partners is the front runner in the competition to design a new $1.5 billion tower on George Street near Circular Quay.

The 248-metre tower was put to a design competition in late 2016 that attracted seven international and local teams, including Foster + Partners who teamed up with local firm Architectus.

A designer was supposed to be chosen in December 2016, but at present, speculation from a News Corp property reporter and a few unsubstantiated reports from UK architecture media is still the best information regarding the likely designer for the landmark tower.

According to The Architects Journal UK sources, Foster + Partners has seen off competition from Australia’s BVN and Hassell, US giants HOK, KPF and SOM, and fellow British ‘Starchitect’ David Chipperfield Architects to win the brief for the project from developer Lendlease.   

The commercial tower is the anchor for a proposal that includes a low rise public building, a large public plaza fronting George Street, a secondary plaza on Rugby Place and a network of laneways to connect and invigorate the precinct.

Lendlease has secured Ping An Real Estate and Mitsubishi Estate Asia as development partners for the tower.

Foster + Partners is headed by Pritzker Architect Norman Foster and has designed major projects for Sydney before. The team was behind the design of Central Park, Deutsche Bank Place on Phillip Street and The Regent Place apartments on George Street.