Laing O'Rourke, Wates and Kier are bidding for the Rolfe-Judd scheme, praised by London mayor Ken Livingstone and architectural watchdog CABE last year.
Berkeley's decision to press on with the scheme is a boost for the London housing market at a time when some are claiming that it is on the verge of collapse.
Sources close to Berkeley said the company was still buying land, as were competitors in London and the South-east.
One source said: "Berkeley is still pressing ahead with projects. The planning process continues to slow schemes, which allows it to control the flow of houses coming on the market."
The Southwark scheme, which is located in Tabard Square, Borough, received planning permission last October. It won the approval of Livingstone and CABE because of its high density, retail elements and the allocation of more than 30% of the site for affordable housing. Of the 521 units planned, 40 will be for key workers and 122 will be low cost.
The project is made up of three buildings, each six to eight storeys, and a 21-storey tower. It also includes a 1550 m2 supermarket, 2440 m2 of shops and a 4000 m2 public square. The project team includes QS KHK, structural engineer FaberMaunsell and services engineer Ecosphere Services.
Planners slow schemes, which allows Berkeley to control the flow of houses
The project is one of three large London jobs out to tender.
Four contractors, understood to be Carillion, Mowlem, Kier and Bovis Lend Lease, are in the running for a £60m office scheme in Fetters Lane, central London. The contractors were due to be interviewed by client Delancey Estates this week. The scheme involves the demolition of a building and the construction of an eight-storey block comprising 34,500 m2 of office and shops on the lower levels. It is designed by architect WML Woods Bagot.
Contractors are also tendering for a £40m extension planned for the Chelsea College of Art & Design next to the Tate Britain art gallery in Millbank.
The project, designed by Allies & Morrison, will convert former military buildings. It is to be project managed by Lend Lease Consulting.