Sugar House Island

London, UK
A creative neighbourhood on an east-London island


Sugar House Island is an east-London neighbourhood of approximately 26 acres, currently being developed by Vastint, an internationally operating real estate developer. Traditionally, the waterbody surrounding the island shaped the industries that operated here, with the earliest tidal mills in England being recorded here. Vastint, an international real estate developer, aims to create a multi-use neighbourhood that respects this industrial heritage while integrating modern living, workspaces, leisure, and green spaces.


United Kingdom
Outside city centre


Sugar House Island comprises over 26 acres of land and is surrounded by water on two sides, the Three Mills Wall River and the River Lea. Traditionally, the island’s water body shaped the industries that operated here, with the earliest tidal mills in England being recorded there. From the 1600s onwards, the river supported textile printing and dye works, which resulted in the island’s northern part transforming into a hub for printing, ink and colour-dye innovation throughout the 19th century. Yet, this was not the only industrial activity developed here. The traditional industries used to create a large circular economy, with the mills generating work for mill operators, carpenters and coopers while providing flour for the local bakers of Stratford. In the 18th century, the mills turned to distil gin. The mash from the gin was used to feed a large population of pigs in the area, whose bones supplied the nearby china factories and local soap makers used their fat.

The original name of the area was ‘Strand East’, but it is was renamed by the developers as ‘Sugar House Island’, after a sugar refinery operating from the 19th century, five-storey red brick warehouse on the island. The area’s heritage value is recognized by its status as a conservation area. [1;2]

Currently, the area is being developed into a mixed-use neighbourhood. Vastint aims to create a creative neighbourhood that balances living, working, and leisure while maintaining the area’s heritage character. Heritage buildings are restored, and new-builds are fitted in. The island is divided into several key areas. Dane’s Yard, named after a world-leading producer of paints once located there, now offers (co-)working spaces for the creative industries. Furthermore, dance studios and recording facilities can be found in this area. The Botanical Mews and The Soapbox offer living accommodation against the backdrop of the Three Mills Wall River. [1;2]

The overall aim is to realise 1.200 new homes (both rental and sales), 58,000m² of office space, and 3 acres of green space, including a riverside walk. A new primary school will also be located in the area, as well as a 350-bed hotel. Restaurants, cafés and shops are scattered throughout the area. [1;3]

In 2019, the plans for Sugar House Island received the New London Award in the category of Masterplans & Area Strategies, acknowledging the integration of heritage and contemporary functions in the neighbourhood. [4;5]


Heritage utilized
Building(s) and/or monumental structures; Landscape/natural resources
Cultural and Creative Industries
Creative industries; Green space; Housing; Public space; Tourism


Vastint is an internationally operating real estate developer with the intention to create long-term value through property investments. The organisation is part of a larger holding, the Interogo Foundation, a foundation-owned investment group. [3]

Vastint UK is developing Sugar House Island in cooperation with master planners ARC-ML (now Ten Four Architects) and in partnership with nine different architectural offices and landscape firms. [1;4]


Governance arrangement
Led by private sector
Organisational form
For-Profit Entity
Stakeholders involved in implementation
Private sector businesses

Business Model

It is unknown how much is invested in the area by Vastint and others.


Initial investment
Type of financial resources utilized
Source of financial resources
Non-financial contributions


  1. Sugar House Island, initiative website,, accessed on 9/9/2021

  2. Dane’s Yard Creative Quarter, organisational brochure, available on, accessed on 9/9/2021

  3. Sugar House Island, Development Brochure (2014), available at, accessed on 9/9/2021

  4. Vastint, organisational website,, accessed on 9/9/2021

  5. New London Architecture (NLA), New London Awards 2019,, accessed on 19/01/2022