Waterloo International could be converted into a shopping centre or luxury flats to meet government's aim to achieve "best value" from the building once it is vacated by Eurostar.
The Department for Transport has commissioned a study by Arup to consider how to maximise profit from the site – including possible conversion to non-rail uses such as shops, flats or offices – in spite of the capacity problems afflicting the domestic rail terminal.
Last year Eurostar announced its intention to move its entire London operation to St Pancras once the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is fully operational in 2007.
In a statement the department said: "The study will look at possible opportunities for commercial use in case it becomes clear that certain areas of the station will not be needed for rail purposes. The facilities at Waterloo and North Pole (the Eurostar maintenance depot, which is also closing) represent significant assets and the department requires that their future use achieves the best value for money."
Arup's study will consider removing the platforms as well as converting the departure lounge underneath into shops or offices.
South West Trains has expressed an interest in using the five platforms in the Nicholas Grimshaw-designed international station to ease capacity problems.
And Network Rail – responsible for the domestic rail infrastructure – has its own plans for the rest of Waterloo Station, including the possibility of a ground-level concourse linking Lower
Marsh with the river. Development above the station is another option under consideration.
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