LONDON-Stanhope has agreed to sell its stake in the troubled Stratford City development, leaving the way clear for rival property magnates the Reuben brothers or Westfield to take full control. The euro 5.9-billion ($7.5-billion) Stratford City development is one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. As well as extending the Channel Tunnel rail link, it will include homes, shops and accommodation for athletes in the 2012 Olympics.

But development is being delayed by infighting between members of the consortium selected by landowner London & Continental Railways over who owns the development rights to the 170-acre site. The consortium comprises Stanhope, Westfield and David and Simon Reuben’s Aldersgate vehicle. They control 50% with the rest divided between Stanhope and Westfield.

An auction was eventually agreed, where the highest bidding partner would buy the others out. But LCR officials have served notice and are drawing up a list of potential partners. The consortium has until next month to resolve its differences before the contract goes out to tender.

Stanhope’s agreement to sell is a crucial step in the talks. The group declined to comment but sources close to the discussion say that a contract has been drawn up stating that the stake will be sold to whoever takes control of the project.

The Reubens brothers are understood to be willing to pay up to euro 80.77 million ($103.51 million) for the stake, though insiders say Stanhope could be looking for closer to £70m because the development rights have soared in value since London secured the Olympic games. The unknown factor is Westfield, which remains keen to buy out its rival.

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