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Southwark Exposure
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A decade ago, there was little reason to venture across the Thames to Southwark, a bleak urban jungle of warehouses and wharves. But in recent years, the borough's revival has shifted London's center of gravity south. Converted south-bank lofts are now among the most coveted properties in town. A revamped esplanade has become a cultural playground for art, music, and theater lovers. Buzzing Borough Market anchors a locavore's mecca of indie food and drink purveyors. Famed architects, too, have designs on the neighborhood. Joining Sir Norman Foster's modernist glass City Hall and spidery Millennium Bridge are new projects like Renzo Piano's "Shard of Glass," set to offer the city's highest views from its 72nd-floor observation deck. At the nearby Tate Modern, a striking pyramid-shaped extension is scheduled to be completed by 2012, when London hosts the Olympics.