London SE1 community website

127-room apart-hotel planned for Bankside warehouse site

London SE1 website team

Proposals for a 127-room apart-hotel on the site of the Empire Warehouse in Bear Gardens were put on public display for the first time this week.

Empire Warehouse
127-room apart-hotel planned for Bankside warehouse site
The former Bear Gardens Museum building next to Empire Warehouse will be retained and incorporated into the development

Macro Investments wants to demolish the Empire Warehouse, which sits between Bear Gardens and Rose Alley, and build a new hotel plus 9 apartments and retail on the ground floor.

The design, by SPPARC Architecture, is said to be inspired by the stage direction "Exit, pursued by a bear" in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.

Macros Investments this week staged a two-day exhibition of the proposals.

The scheme will retain the former Bear Gardens Museum building next to Empire Warehouse which from 1972 to 1994 served as the base for Sam Wanamaker's project to build a replica of Shakespeare's Globe.

An archaeological investigation at the Empire Warehouse in 2008 found the remains of 10 large dogs, horses and several bear bones, which are indicative of bear baiting taking place on Bankside.

Macro Investments acquired the Empire Warehouse from Southwark Council in 2008.

Local residents, who learnt of the proposals through an earlier article on this website, held an open meeting in September to discuss their concerns about the scheme.

• Learn more about the development proposals at

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