Developer U+I was given the green light by Lambeth Planning Committee late last year with construction scheduled to start on site in 2021.
The scheme is a joint venture with the London Fire Commissioner and will deliver 145,000 sq ft of office, hotel and retail space alongside 443 new homes and a new fire station and museum.
A U+I spokesperson said: “We are disappointed to learn that our plans to transform 8 Albert Embankment have been called in by the Secretary of State.
“The decision means that the delivery of a new fire station for the London Fire Brigade, a new permanent home for the London Fire Brigade Museum, along with 443 much-needed homes, 40% of which will be affordable, as well as 100,000 sq ft of workspace and new public spaces could now be significantly delayed.
“The plans, which received the backing of the London Borough of Lambeth and followed extensive consultation with the local community, will positively transform a site that has lain vacant for almost ten years.
‘We remain committed to delivering great places in order to create positive social and economic change and will consider our position in light of our determination to deliver on both fronts.”
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “These plans deliver improved training facilities, new accommodation for a diverse workforce and a new community space. The development will also include a permanent home for the LFB Museum in a restored 8 Albert Embankment, our former headquarters building.
“Sited next to the working fire station this will maintain a vital link between our historic collection and the modern service and will welcome tens of thousands of visitors a year.
“This development will also release capital funds to invest in our stations, training and equipment across the capital. We remain committed to this scheme which is an important part of our future.”
The plans have been opposed by local residents.
A spokesman for the Waterloo Community Development Group said: “It is criminal that these central London sites have been left mostly vacant for 20 years in public ownership, yet all successive Mayors can do is back schemes helicoptered in and completely out-of-scale or context, and of little use to London or Londoners, in order to try and make big bucks like the most rapacious of developers.
“Real people living in real social housing will lose up to 40% of their daylight, because of safety-deposit boxes posing as housing piled 90m high beside them”