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South Bank & Waterloo

South Bank & Waterloo South Bank & Waterloo

The South Bank and Waterloo are London icons and Lambeth’s economic engine. The area is home to a world class artistic cluster, household name media and tech companies, renowned architecture and design firms, independent high streets, and a burgeoning start-up scene.

In the heart of central London, on the Thames, this is a place where big business, universities, innovators and independents sit side by side, creating a rich economic ecology.

Yet there is still great potential for growth. Waterloo is poised to undergo once in a generation levels of development. Major investments are being made. See below to find out more about what’s here already, what’s on the way and how you can be part of the future of South Bank & Waterloo.

Cultural offer


  • The world’s preeminent cultural quarter

    The creative powerhouses of the Southbank Centre, British Film Institute, National Theatre, The Old Vic and Young Vic have been inspiring creative talent for generations, drawing 30m+ visitors every year.

  • Renowned Creative and Tech Industries

    Iconic media and tech business including ITV and IBM have called the South Bank home for over 30 years. These economic giants benefit from the central location and connectivity, a highly skilled talent base and a world class choice of restaurants, bars and venues. David Chipperfield Architects, part of a growing design cluster in Lambeth, is one of the UK’s most successful practices with more than 100 awards won internationally.

  • Start-ups and Workspace

    A thriving start-up scene is being built within the Waterloo neighbourhood. Build Studios; Health Foundry; Granby Space; and Local London are four incubators and co-working spaces that contribute to this. Long established workspaces including Elizabeth House and Make Space Studios also provide an affordable offer, popular with hundreds of early stage companies and micro businesses.

  • Health Sector

    Healthcare is one of Waterloo’s leading sectors with major institutions, centres for innovation and a strong higher education imprint. Guy’s & St. Thomas’ and King’s College London are two of London’s foremost medical institutions, training first class healthcare professionals and pioneering innovation in life sciences, medicine, social science and public policy. Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity opened The Health Foundry in 2016, a modern collaborative workspace for digital health start-ups, part of a health-tech cluster that is growing between Waterloo and London Bridge.

  • Independent Retail

    Historic London shopping streets in Lower Marsh and The Cut provide the backdrop for a richly characterful independent business and retail sector. Lower Marsh Market, operating since the 19th century, has been re-invigorated by the WeAreWaterloo BID, providing a great street-food offer throughout the week.

  • Leake Street

    Made famous by graffiti artist Banksy, who organised the first Cans Festival of street art there in 2008, Leake Street is now London’s largest and most popular street art location. In 2012, The Vaults was launched in a maze of underground tunnels on Leake Street, and has since become established as a multi-award winning theatre and performing arts space. 2014 saw the iconic Vans brand opening of the House of Vans, housing London’s first permanent indoor skate park, a diner, bar and cinema.

start-up scene
sq ft
of commercial space


South Bank Employers Group – a unique partnership of eighteen major organisations in South Bank, Waterloo and Blackfriars with a long-term commitment to improving the everyday experience of the area for employees, visitors and residents alike. For over 25 years, South Bank Employers Group have been driving positive change, helping to create one of the UK’s most exciting destinations.

Two Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) cover the entire commercial area of the South Bank and Waterloo. The BIDs promote and network their business communities, and also drive new initiatives supporting the local economy – from visitor management, events and public realm improvements, to street market management and new affordable workspace projects. All businesses locating in the area benefit from their support and investment.


The South Bank and Waterloo is a pivotal area for economic growth and employment for Lambeth and London. It has the potential to deliver 15,000 new jobs and 1,900 new homes. The projects below detail how the area is growing, building on its great historic past and vibrant present.

  • The iconic Shell Centre on the South Bank is being transformed and on track for completion in 2019. Led by Canary Wharf Group, the Southbank Place development will provide over 800,000 sq ft of new office space, an additional 800,000 sq ft for residential use and 80,000 sq ft of new retail units. The well-known Shell Centre Tower will remain the centrepiece of the new site, complemented by eight new buildings, one of which will incorporate new offices and trading floors for Shell.

  • 100 million people pass through Waterloo Station each year making it the UK’s busiest rail hub. In order to meet increasing passenger demand, Waterloo Station is now undergoing an £800m upgrade. Train capacity will increase by 40% alongside the creation of a 12,540 sq. m. new retail and leisure quarter, creating 700 new jobs. The new commercial spaces will house a mix of independent, high street and food stores, spread across three floors.

  • London and Continental Railways (LCR) have redeveloped and redesigned the Leake Street Arches. The 2,160 sq. m. scheme has provided new retail space, including independent restaurants and bars and an audio/visual ‘sensorium’. Aures, a 175 seat venue will be the UK’s first custom-built acoustic events space. The arches were formerly home to a bonded whisky warehouse and are part of the wider Waterloo International Terminal redevelopment.

  • Elizabeth House will represent one of London’s largest development schemes in the past 10 years. Over 1 million sq. ft. of new of commercial space and 100,000 sq. ft. of public space will be created, in front of Waterloo Station and running the length of York Road. Recently acquired by HB Reavis, the Elizabeth House scheme will create a new business district and catalyse further development in the area.

  • The council, Meanwhile Space CIC, and If_DO Architects have collaborated to bring forward an exciting new meanwhile workspace at 114-118 Lower Marsh. Granby Space provides below market rent opportunities to a range of ambitious early stage companies in the creative, tech, and retail sectors. The frontage has been given a dramatic facelift, bringing the building back to life. The enterprise hub will remain in place whilst the long-term development of the site is progressed.

    Planning permission for redevelopment has been granted for office, retail and community use. The Conran and Partners approved designs can be seen here.

  • Waterloo West is an exciting economic visioning commission focused on the area around Westminster Bridge Road, Carlisle Lane, Upper Marsh and Royal Street – a hitherto undeveloped corner of Waterloo with the potential to play a valuable role in terms of movement, connectivity, economy and place making within the wider area.

    The project builds on recent work with WeAreWaterloo BID, Waterloo Community Development Group and others, whereby the Council invested £3m of S.106 in public realm improvements in Lower Marsh – Waterloo’s principal shopping street.

busiest rail hub

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