The local football team may have disappointed this season, but Chelsea is blooming and booming. This week the spotlight shines on the world's best annual flower show while the champagne-guzzling antics of E4's hit docusoap Made in Chelsea rev up and the local property market launches sparkling new homes.
Chelsea has been in demand since Henry VIII built a palace here in 1536. Once London's main quarter for artists, its bohemian side survives today in the trendy glamour of King's Road and the charm of Cheyne Walk.
Despite its reputation as a moneyed enclave, Chelsea is surprisingly mixed, with architecture to match — from gorgeous Georgian townhouses and red-brick mansion blocks to modest pastel-painted cottages and Sixties-built council flats.
What the area lacked and is now getting is modern-design developments with gated security and underground parking — the sort of homes that previous buyers crossed the river for; such as Montevetro and Albion Riverside on the Battersea waterfront.
Not all these homes are ultra-expensive
Developments are sprouting up in less salubrious parts of Chelsea such as the tract between World's End and the Thames, in the SW10 and SW6 postcodes, and on the border with Pimlico.
Several redevelopments of former art colleges are under way or complete. The Gallery, once an annexe for Chelsea College of Art and Design, is a mix of townhouses and flats priced from £425,000. Call Marsh & Parsons on 020 7736 9822.
Listed Sloane School on Hortensia Road (200 metres from Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge stadium) is being redeveloped in two stages. Phase one, called Chelsea Apartments, is a new-build block of 36 homes behind a curved façade with large rectangular windows, reminiscent of artists' studios, and tiered, wraparound terraces, a bit like a wedding cake. Prices from £735,000.
At the top is a single penthouse — 3,400sq ft of raw, lateral space being sold as a shell for £5.85 million (for an extra cost, developer Manhattan Loft Corporation will work with a buyer on the fit-out). Phase two is conversion of the original Edwardian building into loft-style apartments. Call 020 7016 3860.
The Blitz paved the way for postwar renewal, which reached a peak in the Eighties
Halfway along King's Road, the old Chelsea College of Art is making way for a prestige scheme of 15 apartments and two townhouses fronting Manresa Road. Called Henry Moore Court (Moore was head of sculpture at the college from 1932), prices range from £5.5 million to £14 million. Call 020 7351 2383.
World's End marks a traditional boundary line — the furthest point on the King's Road from select Sloane Square. The old Chelsea of artists and aristocrats never extended across this frontier.
The Blitz paved the way for postwar renewal, which reached a peak in the Eighties with the building of the architecturally unloved World's End council estate and a fancy marina scheme called Chelsea Harbour, which breathed life into this neglected part of west Chelsea.
Chelsea Creek, a new apartment scheme linked to the giant Imperial Wharf mixed-use estate. Prices from £559,000 to £5 million. Call 020 7610 9693.
Chelsea's traditional heartland lies either side of King's Road, between Beaufort Street and Royal Hospital Road. Conservation area status has prevented even smallscale development — hence the excitement generated by the upcoming Chelsea Barracks project, which will bring 500 homes — a new 13-acre "quarter" linking with the Pimlico Road hub of homeware stores and antique shops.
Because of the potential uplift in values, now could prove to be a good time to buy into lower-priced Grosvenor Waterside, between the barracks and the river. This scheme is set around a dock built more than 200 years ago to transport materials for the construction of Belgravia. Bramah, the latest phase, has flats priced from £630,000. Call Savills on 020 7409 8756.