Green light for new super-prime scheme in Chelsea

Former Harrods depository on Sloane Avenue to undergo ‘landmark’ transformation

Kensington & Chelsea planners have given the nod to a major new resi-led scheme on Chelsea’s Sloane Avenue.

Proposals – drawn up by David Chipperfield Architects, no less – went in last year to transform the prominent former Harrods Depository building at No. 60 into 49 top-end apartments, along with some retail and leisure.

The handsome Edwardian Baroque block ‘tween South Ken and Sloane Square was fashioned into 13,000 square metres of top-grade offices and retail space by Stanton Williams not 20 years ago, in a project described at the time as “surely the best commercial building completed in the UK for some years” by Architecture Today.

The “landmark” revamp will involve a demolition behind retained facades and redevelopment as seven-storey (ground plus six upper floors) scheme, with 45 car parking spaces and leisure facilities underneath.

The new entrances along Sloane Avenue and Draycott Avenue will be “suitably discreet”, according to the proposals, and lead into a central ground floor lobby with access to three residential “cores”. The designs provide for some stonking floorplates, particularly up top.

CGI showing view from Draycott Avenue (Image courtesy of Miller Hare)

Split of resi units

Of course the council isn’t that keen on seeing office space disappear from the borough and a statement issued last month confirmed the loss could be offset as part of a new commercial development at 253-261 Kensal Road, which would see the addition of over 13,000 square metres of flexible office floor space within the Kensal Employment Zone. The two applications taken together, said RBKC, would result in an increase in resi units within the borough, along with an uplift in both office floor space and retail floor space.

Rumours of an office-to-resi conversion at 60 Sloane Avenue first surfaced back in 2013, not long after the whole thing was sold off by German fund manager Deka to a private Luxembourg-based investor for £115m.

The unlisted terracotta-fronted building sits on a 0.25 hectare site and was originally constructed by Harrods as a motor car showroom and workshop, around the same time as the iconic Michelin tyre depot went up opposite. The 1994 redevelopment won the British Council of Offices ‘Building of the Year Award’, Civic Trust, RIBA and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s Design Awards.

This well-heeled corner of PCL is in line for a wave of new resi stock thanks to the £900m redevelopment of the neighbouring former John Lewis warehouses (aka The Clearings), and the repurposing of the former Chelsea Police Station on Lucan Place into a £150m luxury scheme.