Work recently started on the long-awaited project by London South Bank University to create a new enterprise centre in the derelict Georgian terraces along London Road and Borough Road.
The grade II listed terraces, centred on the former Duke of Clarence pub at St George's Circus, have been on English Heritage's at-risk register for at least a decade.
The £13.5 million scheme, designed by Rivington Street Studio, is due for completion in September 2013.
The centre will include incubation space for small businesses set up by students and alumni as well as an open public reception space, gallery, cafe and courtyard for networking.
LSBU's Enterprise team will be based at the building, offering advice and mentoring opportunities for students and firms located there, forging links between the University and the wider business community.
"This is a significant milestone in London South Bank University's vision to become 'London's enterprising university'," said pro vice-chancellor Beverley Jullien.
"Our main focus is to help our students to achieve academic and professional success, and our new enterprise centre will foster the entrepreneurial ambitions of students and staff, supporting them to make even closer connections with business and industry.
"The centre will also reinforce the university's commitment to business start-ups and knowledge transfer, creating invaluable space and resources for local businesses."
LSBU's chancellor and Richard Farleigh said: "In these testing economic times, entrepreneurialism and innovation are vital to kick-start the country's economy – this scheme will give new and expanding businesses a real chance of succeeding."